CHARLOTTESVILLE, February 2, 2023—Charlottesville City Schools will assume sole ownership of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical Education Center (CATEC) in order to ensure students’ continued access to valuable career and technical education, part of the City’s larger vision for workforce development.
In accordance with the original 1969 partnership agreement between the Charlottesville City and Albemarle County school divisions, Albemarle County Public Schools initiated the process to dissolve the CATEC partnership by making a formal offer in December 2022 to purchase Charlottesville City Schools’ one-half interest in CATEC for $5.3 million. Tonight, the Charlottesville City School Board voted to exercise its option under the 1969 agreement to purchase the ACPS stake at that same price, rather than selling the City’s interest.
Charlottesville City Schools believes that the scale and scope of technical education are best supported by the joint effort of the two school divisions, who together built this successful program over more than 50 years. However, in light of Albemarle County Public Schools’ move to dissolve the partnership, CCS leaders chose to take ownership of the school because selling it to Albemarle Schools would jeopardize Charlottesville students’ ability to continue learning at CATEC. ACPS has previously made it clear that under its ownership, accommodating city students would not be a priority; a change as simple as a bell schedule adjustment could effectively block Charlottesville students from enrolling at CATEC. CCS intends to continue to operate the facility as a regional resource.
“After ACPS moved to dissolve the partnership, continuing jointly was no longer an option,” said Charlottesville School Board Chair James Bryant. “The question then was whether or not to assume ownership of the program and protect Charlottesville students’ access to these vital opportunities.”
A secondary factor in CCS’s decision was that ACPS’s formal offer presumed a total value of $10.6 million for the CATEC real estate and personal property, in comparison to independent professional appraisals that valued the assets at over $11.8 million in their current use.
Founded in 1973, CATEC helps teens and adults train for the jobs they seek. High school students can receive recognized certifications or credentials in ten industries: automotive body technology, automotive service technology, carpentry, cosmetology, culinary arts, electricity, fire science, emergency medical technician, nurse assistant, and veterinary science. Students completing select CATEC programs receive, on average, 11 dual-enrollment college credits from local community colleges.
“CATEC is an incredible community resource and Charlottesville City Schools looks forward to continuing to build on the program’s success for the students of today and tomorrow,” said Board Vice Chair Dom Morse.
Logistics of the change in leadership still need to be discussed between the two divisions. Charlottesville City Schools is committed to a smooth transition for CATEC students and staff.