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Scottsville tells its supervisor it feels like 'the redheaded stepchild'

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Scottsville residents told Supervisor Christopher J. Dumler they are tired of being treated like the county’s second-class citizens Thursday night.

Residents raised the loudest complaints after Dumler told them the School Board, at the urging of its Long-Range Planning Advisory Committee, is looking at closing or consolidating schools in the southern feeder pattern. That would include Yancey and Scottsville elementary schools.

Resident Dolores Rogers said the county had promised more than 40 years ago not to close the district’s smallest schools and turning back now would be breaking a promise.

“I have no children or grandchildren, but we cannot be putting our 5-year-olds on a bus to Charlottesville. That’s crazy, that’s criminal,” Rogers said. “Albemarle County balances its budget on the back of Scottsville.”

Dumler assured residents that he did not support closing the schools, nor does School Board Chairman Steve Koleszar, who represents Scottsville on the board, but the decision comes down to a vote by the School Board.

“The School Board is currently in the process of taking a really, really hard look at their capital fund,” Dumler said. “They have been making good use of the dollars, but they are out of low-hanging fruit.”

The LRPAC recommendation to close or consolidate came after the committee determined that to keep Yancey open, the building will need nearly $6 million of improvements in the next few years. To keep the school open would be more than $40,000 per student, the committee said.

Despite the cost, Dumler said, he will push to keep the school open, as the needed maintenance has been put off until it reached this level.

“It’s a chunk of change, but if you ask me, it’s one we’ve already spent,” he said. “Regardless of [the School Board’s] motivation, they need to be talked to.”

Resident Denise Davis said she wants the improvements done to counter balance how much money gets spent in the northern end of the county.

“Our tax dollars are still green, but we get treated like the redheaded stepchild,” she said.

Residents also spoke out on the condition of the roads near the small town. Resident Gene Harding said it had taken him three years to get the town to respond to a bush that blocked a sight line on a dangerous blind curve on Route 20.

“They hold the purse strings, and they don’t care what we think,” Harding said of the county government. “Nobody cares about southern Albemarle but us and Chris.”

Harding decried the Virginia Department of Transportation for telling him that safety improvements could not be made until someone died along Route 20.

He and Rogers blamed VDOT for the May 30 death of James Oslin, a well-loved member of the community, who died following a wreck at the intersection of James River Road and Scottsville Road. Oslin could have been saved if the intersection were more clearly marked and had rumble strips or a traffic light, they said.

Rogers said she didn’t want to hear about more VDOT studies.

“Jimmy Oslin is dead because we got studied,” she said. “We’ve been studied to Jimmy Oslin’s death.”

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