School Climate Survey

Published 3:04 pm Tuesday, November 15, 2011

BUCKINGHAM – Parents, students, and staff of Buckingham County Public Schools will soon have an opportunity to participate in a survey about the school climate.

During its November 9 meeting, the Buckingham County School Board authorized Superintendent Gary Blair to enter into a contract with the National Center for School Leadership to conduct the survey at a cost of $2,625 plus a $125 set-up fee.

Dr. Blair explained the survey would help provide information for updating the school division's comprehensive plan.

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Describing the task as a perception and satisfaction survey, he said an independent company would be able to formulate a survey that would provide pertinent feedback.

According to Blair, students, staff, and parents would be able to respond to the survey online. He added that paper copies of the survey would also be available for parents without Internet access. However, the paper copies would cost 30-cents extra to process.

When David Christian asked about the purpose of the survey, Blair explained that every school system in the state is required to have a comprehensive improvement plan. He said the survey is basically a satisfaction survey and offers parents, students and staff an opportunity to have input in developing that plan.

“It really gives us data and direction for developing the comprehensive plan,” stated Blair.

FY 12 Budget Revisions Approved

During his report, Blair recommended and the school board approved for presentation to the board of supervisors an update of the FY12 budget. Although the change does not include any additional local funds, the total budget would increase by $288,271 from $23,851,555 to $24,139,826.

Dr. Blair said the changes were based upon the average daily membership, ADM, of 1,861.85 students. He added that changes were also made in some categories so that the school's budget would match with the county's accounting system.

According to Dr. Jim Dumminger, director of administrative records, one such change involved the Virginia Pre-School Initiative. He explained they had a carryover of $30,000 that they anticipated saving to help pay for this year's preschool programs.

“Being that money has already come into the county, it has to be considered under local and that money was switched around to the local section of the budget and as part of the instruction carryover,” said Dumminger. “The end-of-the-year carryover balance was $154,595.85.” He added, “And that is the lowest carryover we've had in the last five years.”

Continuing, Dumminger said there were also changes in funds for federal programs. He explained that with some of the awards, the division did not receive notification about the exact amounts until after the first of October, which is the start of the federal fiscal year.

Dumminger said other changes included moves in local funding categories. He added that when they formulated the budget, it included funds from a school auction, which was not held because so many surplus items were auctioned the previous year.

Another change, explained Dumminger, is an increase in the projected funds for insurance adjustments because of damages caused by lightening during severe storms this summer. He said the additional revenue and expenses caused some transfers of funds to maintenance and technology.

Dumminger reiterated that the changes did not reflect any additional money from the county. He added that they were also transferring $2,980 from carryover to bus garage construction.

During the budget discussion, T. W. “Hut” Hutcherson shared that he was recently confronted by someone who said there were students who did not have textbooks.

“Do we have such a problem here that we do not have textbooks for all our students?” he asked.

David Christian shared there are some classes that don't have textbooks but utilize more up-to-date resources, which are made available to the students.

Donna Matthews, director of academic services, stated, “To my knowledge, not a single principal has called and said that they do not have textbooks for their children.”

However, Matthews explained that at the high school they are using other instructional materials and resources in social studies and English that align with the SOLs.

Hutcherson also asked if any classes were using the iPod. Matthews responded that the high school would be using iTouch and the devices are also being used at Dillwyn Primary School and the middle school.

As the discussion concluded, Superintendent Blair assured Hutcherson, “I don't know of any children who need textbooks that don't have them but I will check on that.”

<center>Superintendent's Report

The first item on Dr. Blair's report dealt with out-of-state and/or overnight field trips. The superintendent explained that thus far Culinary Arts, JROTC and FBLA have submitted requests.

Concurring with Blair, the board unanimously approved the trip requests submitted to date but did not approve any monetary support at this time.

“Funding is normally taken care of by the clubs themselves,” explained Blair, noting that at this point, they did not know the number of students who would be participating in the trips.

Blair reminded that the standard calls for one chaperone for every ten students.

In another unanimous vote, the board approved a list of evening courses that will be offered this spring by Southside Virginia Community College at Buckingham's Career and Technical Education Center.

The list includes; Cosmetology Theory III, a four credit class, on Mondays from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.; Coordinated Practices in COS II, three credits, on Thursdays from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.; and Onsite Training in COS Practices, four credits, on Mondays through Thursdays from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Additionally, SVCC will also offer Introduction to Computer Applications, a three-credit class on Wednesdays from 6 to 9 p.m.

The classes will begin on January 9 through 12, depending on the respective course.

During his report, Blair publicly thanked Joan Shumaker who was appointed coordinator of administrative technology in September.

He shared the number of work orders she has processed and commended her efforts. “She has some great ideas,” said Blair. “I am so impressed…It's a breath of fresh air.”

Directing his comment to Shumaker, Blair stated, “I appreciate what you have done.”

At the conclusion of the superintendent's report, Hutcherson asked about non-credit evening classes at the Career and Technical Education Center.

CTE Principal Kyle Bryan explained that although 12 classes were offered this fall only one person showed up. He said if the classes had proceeded, they would have carried a fee of $50 to cover the cost of the instructor.

Consent Agenda

The board approved the consent agenda as presented. Included in the agenda were minutes of the October 12 school board meeting at 2 p.m.; and, a meeting with the board of supervisors later that evening.

Additionally, the consent agenda included auditing and approval of bills and accounts; an enrollment report for October; approval of building and grounds requests; and approval of home school and religious exemptions.

Personnel Agenda

Following a two and a-half hour closed session to discuss personnel and a public contract, the board approved its personnel agenda as presented.

The action included the retirement of Annie Parr, administrative assistant, effective January 1; and resignations from Nikkia Goodman, Title I Aide and 21st Century Grant Site Coordinator at Dillwyn Primary; Adam Demuth, part-time tech specialist; Seth Wilkerson as weight-room supervisor and assistant football coach; and Kim Chambers as head JV softball coach.

Appointments included Wendy Oliver to the position of administrative assistant for school business operations; and Rachael Santaniello as a special education teacher at Buckingham Primary and Gold Hill, an allocated position due to increased enrollment.

Three special education hourly aides were also appointed due to increased enrollments-Amy Christian, Buckingham Primary; Marlene Fraykor, Gold Hill; and Marcia Davis, Dillwyn Primary.

Emilee Sprouse was appointed as a Title I aide at Dillwyn Primary and site coordinator for the DP 21st Century Grant; and Kathy Jamerson as secretary for the DP 21st Century Grant.

Coach Craig Gill was appointed as weight-room supervisor; and Brett Caruso as football sideline medical assistant.

The division currently has an opening for an accounts payable/computer operator at the central office.