Albemarle County School Board Chairman Ron Price announced his resignation, to be made official during a December 9 school board meeting, according to the Daily Progress. Price joined the school board in 2007 and became chairman this year. He will reportedly begin work as the assistant vice president for human resources at Utah Valley University in January.
Price served during one of the most contentious budget cycles in recent memory. The current fiscal year saw a $6 million budget reduction for county schools—a reduction that many sought to avoid, and resisted with calls for Albemarle County supervisors to raise the real estate tax. Strains over school budgets also prompted debates over a revenue sharing agreement between Charlottesville and Albemarle. The agreement, which prevented the city from annexing rural county land, sent $18 million to Charlottesville coffers during the current fiscal year.
The agreement is not factored into the state’s school funding formula, which cost Albemarle County roughly $2.6 million in the last budget cycle. As a cost-saving mechanism, Albemarle County high schools switched to an eight-class schedule that put students through an additional class each year, but did away with many year-long courses—a move that is now being reconsidered in light of negative reactions from parents, students and teachers.
During budget discussions, Price remarked that "the pressure is mounting to save more money," and sent county supervisors an unbalanced budget during negotiations in February. Price was also critical of Governor Bob McDonnell’s decision to withdraw Virginia from competition for a slice of the $4.3 billion Race to the Top education funds.
"You’re not going to attract the high tech industries into the Commonwealth of Virginia without having a quality education system," Price told C-VILLE.