Last November, voters in Pittsylvania County on the south side of Virginia’s Fifth Congressional District had on their ballot a referendum on whether or not to approve a one percent sales tax increase to fund school improvement projects. The measure failed on a 23-vote margin according to election night results from the State Board of Elections.
This Tuesday, the seven-member Board of Supervisors got an update on a campaign to try hold the referendum again this year, based on enabling authority that passed the General Assembly in 2020. Martha Walker is the chair of Pittsylvanians for a Brighter Future, an advocacy group that seeks passage this time around.
“One cent, one penny, will generate $3.8 million each year for the 19 years that we will be allowed to have that one cent sales tax added,” Walker said.
The chancellor of Virginia’s Community College System has named a Colorado educator as the next president of Piedmont Virginia Community College. Dr. Jean Runyon is currently the campus vice president at Front Range Community College in Larimer. .
“We are excited to welcome Dr. Runyon to PVCC and believe she will be able to build upon the success and great potential that exists here, not just at the College but throughout the community,” said PVCC College Board Chair Lola Richardson in a statement.
There are a lot of numbers involved in this next story so grab a pencil or open up a spreadsheet to follow along.
There’s less than a month left before the Charlottesville City Council will adopt a budget for FY2023 and four days away before the first public hearing. The five elected officials began their detailed review of the budget.
“We’re presenting a balanced budget of $216,171,432,” said interim City Manager Michael C. Rogers. “This represents a 12.46 percent increase over 2022.”
Charlottesville’s plan to invest dozens of millions in public schools conclusively lost one financing source this morning. A subcommittee of the House Finance Committee voted to lay three bills on the table that would have allowed localities to decide if they wanted to raise the sales tax to finance school construction.
Under current law, localities have to ask permission from the General Assembly to hold a referendum in which community members would decide whether to levy the tax. For the past two years, the Democrats held a majority and legislation passed that put the question on the ballot in Danville and Pittsylvania County. Danville approved a one percent sales tax increase with a 60 percent margin, but Pittsylvania voters rejected the tax on a 33 vote margin.
The Republicans picked up seven House of Delegates in that same election, giving them a 52-48 advantage. House Finance Subcommittee #3 has seven members, four of whom are Republicans.
A committee that is evaluating whether the name of Broadus Wood Elementary School should be changed is recommending that it remain. In October 2018, the Albemarle School Board directed Superintendent Matt Haas to review all the names in the division to see if they still are consistent with school values.
Broadus Ira Wood was a farmer who donated the land for the Earlysville area school in 1905 and the committee felt “he advanced education opportunities for African American and rural students.”
A new group has formed to promote public investment in Charlottesville City Schools. The launch of Charlottesville United for Public Education comes on the same day School Superintendent Royal Gurley Jr. will present the operating budget for city schools to the City Council.
“The organization views the city’s budget planning season as an opportunity to rally behind much-needed investments for public schools,” reads the press release that went out this morning.
In the upcoming session of the Virginia General Assembly, the city of Charlottesville will seek permission to hold a referendum on a one-cent sales tax increase. That’s the path Danville took in 2020 when they and several other Southside communities petitioned the 2020 General Assembly to the list of “qualifying localities” that could have such a ballot initiative. In November, Danville citizens voted 7,515 to 4,921 in favor of levying the tax.
On Tuesday, the seven-member Danville City Council voted unanimously to levy the tax, which will expire at the end of May of 2041.
Vice Mayor Gary Miller had this observation before the vote. G.W. is George Washington High School.
“Today I had a patient in and her daughter was a proud member of the 1965 GW Women’s Championship basketball team, the last time they won the state championship,” Miller said. “She said she was dismayed. She’d been to GW, that’s where she graduated, and she said how dismal the schools was and she didn’t think it was conducive to learning. And I was just happy to assure her that with the passage of this referendum and the sales tax, that school’s going to look like a different school in just few years and you wouldn’t be able to recognize it.”