School Budget Calendar Is Set

Published 4:26 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2012

BUCKINGHAM – Presenting the proposed FY 2013 Budget Calendar to the Buckingham County School Board at its January meeting, Superintendent Gary Blair offered, “As you know, it's that time of the year again.”

The calendar calls for Dr. Blair to make his budget presentation to the school board on February 15, at 6 p.m. in the Window Room of the Career and Technical Education Center.

Then, on February 22, the board will hold its initial budget work session.

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A public hearing on the budget proposal is scheduled for February 29, at 6 p.m., in the Window Room. If the board does not adopt the budget proposal during that meeting, another meeting is set for Monday, March 5, at 6 p.m., if needed. After adoption, the proposed budget will be submitted to the county administrator.
Noting that the board of supervisors is scheduled to consider final adoption of the county budget and tax rates on Monday, April 16, Blair stated, “I think the word of caution is normally that by April 16 we don't really have any idea what the Governor will do for the schools.”

According to Blair, the governor's budget that they have looked at is $300,000 less for Buckingham County. He added that the $575,000 in jobs money is gone and they were told last year that the additional $800,000 the county provided to the school division for the FY12 budget was for that year only.

“So we are now $1.6 million in the hole, which is really scary,” said Blair. “I don't think you can continue to grow and cut costs.”

Blair said that he was not prepared to make any statements at this time. However, acknowledging that they were not alone in the ship, he concluded, “It will be a challenging year for all of us.”

School Climate and Culture Survey

Reminding that the division's comprehensive plan expires in 2012, Blair said the data for the new comprehensive plan would be drawn from surveys about the school climate and culture.

He emphasized that the deadline for completing the surveys is February 6.

According to Blair, parents, students, and staff of Buckingham County Public Schools are encouraged to participate in the surveys, which are available online.

Parents may access the survey at Paper copies of the survey are available to parents without Internet access.

Blair said the staff questionnaire contains 70 questions; parents have 55 questions; and students have 39.

An independent company will tabulate the results. In turn, the results will be used as the foundation of the new comprehensive plan, explained Blair.

Change Order for Terrazzo Flooring

A proposed change order to add more terrazzo flooring in the renovation project on Route 20 drew a discussion on the pros and cons of terrazzo and tile.

After a discussion on the differences and the additional cost, the board, with a four-to-three vote, approved the change order, which includes a 35-day extension rather than the initial proposal of 90 days.

VMDO's original cost estimate for the terrazzo was $353,600. By extending the terrazzo to other areas of the project, the price goes up to $513,439.76.

While discussing the proposal, Blair noted that with the 35-day extension, they were now looking at the end of May or June before they could move into the buildings.

When Chairman Acie Allen questioned where the terrazzo would be added, Facilities Director Ivan “Chip” Davis answered, “The entire second floor.”

According to Davis, all corridors, commons areas, cafeteria, and entranceways, all the public areas, would be terrazzo.

Allen stated, “So the choice is between spending $513,000 and extending the contract 35 days for the terrazzo or putting linoleum down and spending $50,000.”

Noting that the linoleum is guaranteed for 25 years, Allen said even if they had to replace the tile that would total about $100,000 instead of $500,000.

Offering that he knew there was contingency money, Allen cautioned that at this point they did not know what other change orders they would run into before the project is completed.

Allen added that with the quality of industrial tile, he was not sure that the terrazzo was worth spending that much money.

Conversely, Thomas Hutcherson stated, “I think it is well worth it.”

David Christian stated, “A half a million dollars is a lot of money.”

Sherry Ragland asked why they were now questioning what they had already said they wanted to do. She added, “I am very supportive of the terrazzo as long as it is taken care of appropriately.”

Subsequently, Hutcherson moved to accept the proposed change order. Vice Chairman Ed Wise provided the second.

When Allen asked if there was any discussion on the motion, Christian offered, “Before you vote, I want us to think about what else we could put in that building for half a million dollars that would directly affect children.”

A call for the vote drew yeas from Hutcherson, Kathy Midkiff, Ragland, and Wise. Allen, Christian, and Pete Gowin opposed.

Following the vote, Superintendent Blair offered, “We don't take these change orders lightly.” He shared that his experience with terrazzo is that it is durable, does last and is low maintenance.

“I think it completes what we would like to do for the school without being wasteful,” he added. “I am extremely sensitive to spending money on this but I do think it will pay off.”

Heartland Horse Heroes Program Approved

With a five-to-two vote, the board approved a therapeutic riding program for younger special needs students.

When presenting the request on behalf of Thelma Llewellyn, director of special education, Dr. Blair explained that the program is hosted at Sprouses Corner Ranch through the Heartland Horse Heroes.

Blair said Betty Moss agreed to volunteer as a driver to transport the students to the ranch on Tuesday and Thursdays afternoons.

The cost of the program from March through May would be $7,200 for ten students, stated Blair, noting that the funding would be drawn from funds currently available for special education.

Reading from Llewellyn's request, Blair shared, “Therapeutic riding has been known to help students with physical problems, autism, sensory motor issues, developmental delay, functional spinal curvature, neuromuscular abnormalities, brain injuries, and also helps with social skills and teaching responsibility.”

Blair told the board he would like to schedule a time for them to accompany him to Sprouses Corner Ranch to learn more about the Heartland Heroes program.

Donna Matthews, director of academic services, explained that the students would be selected based on the needs expressed in their respective IEP, individualized education program.

Christian asked about the possibility of using the program year-around and what that cost would be. Blair said they were looking into that and would bring the information back to the board.

During the discussion, Allen shared that while reviewing the agenda and supporting information, he and other board members were unable to bring up the letter on their computers.

Wise asked if it would delay the program if they put off the approval until they had time to read the information.

However, Midkiff led with a motion to approve implementing the program for the stated time. With a second by Ragland, the motion also drew support from Gowin, Hutcherson, and Christian.

Opposing, Wise and Allen both explained they were not objecting to the program, they would just like more time to review the information.

Blue Star

Superintendent Blair announced that Buckingham Career and Technical Education Center was designated a 2011 Blue Star School through the WISE Financial Literacy Certification Program.

CTE Principal Kyle Bryan shared that Buckingham is one of 122 schools in the United States to receive the designation.

He explained that WISE, Working in Support of Education, is the national organization that provides the Industry Certification Test for Economics and Personal Finance, which is, beginning with this year's freshman class, now required for graduation in Virginia.

Bryan noted that although some divisions have not started offering the course, Buckingham has done so for the last three years.

Sandra Weir, CTE business teacher, explained that the designation required a 75 percent pass rate on the test and have either a majority of students on a given grade level take the test or have the students who took the test achieve an average score of 80 percent or higher.

“We are really proud of you and our kids,” stated Allen.

Blair added, “Outstanding.”

Student Athletes Recognized

Before six student athletes were recognized, Dr. Blair expressed his appreciation and admiration for Coach Craig Gill.

“He is a special man. He does a lot for the county. He does a lot behind the scenes. And, we would not have these outstanding athletes if it wasn't for the outstanding coach,” said Blair. “Coach Gill, I know that Buckingham is indebted to you and we thank you for all you do. You are a great man.”

BCHS Athletic Director Missy Shores began the presentations by introducing Antonn Briley and Taylor Hudgins, two students recognized as Student Athletes of the Week by Channel 19 and Burger King.

“These two young people contribute not just in the athletic world of Buckingham but they are also student leaders in the classroom,” stated Shores.

She shared that Briley is a three-sport athlete, excelling in all of them. “He carries a 3.69 GPA, so he also serves as an outstanding representative of what we want our student athletes to be in the classroom,” stated Shores.

Continuing, Shores said Hudgins is a member of the girls' volleyball team and has been a recognized athlete for three years as All-District and All-Region.

“She's carrying over a 4.0 average in her classes and takes a pretty rigorous course load and goes to Governor's School,” offered Shores. “She does an outstanding job for us and represents us very well everywhere she goes.”

Coach Gill introduced four members of the football team, Kenneth Johnson, Thomas Midkiff, Camre Johnson, and Tarian Ayers, who were selected to the All-Central Virginia Football Team.

Gill shared, “These four young men are probably better people than they are players-and that is saying a lot. They are good young men. They are respectful. They have respect for the school, the administration, and for their teammates.” He added, “It is a pleasure to work with them.”

According to Gill, Kenneth Johnson was named Honorable Mention All-Central Virginia Defensive Player; Camre Johnson, First Team All Central Virginia Defensive Back; Tarian Ayres, First Team All-Central Virginia Utility Player; and Thomas Midkiff, Second Team All-Central Virginia Offensive Lineman.

During his overview of the achievements of the young players, Gill noted that Camre Johnson carries a GPA of 3.9 and Tarian Ayres has a GPA of 3.6.

Gill added that Ayres, a senior, was the team's captain. He said Ayres is a three sport letterman, with four years in football, four years in basketball, and if he finishes this track season, four years in track.

Wishing the students the best and continued success in athletics, Blair told them, “You make our Friday nights.”

Addressing the young athletes, Hutcherson stated, “We are very, very proud of your accomplishments.” Referencing Gill's comments about the honorees being “good people,” Hutcherson added, “Keep that reputation from now on.”

Allen offered his congratulations and stated, “We are very, very proud of all of you.”

In Other School Board Action

The board approved its consent agenda as presented. That agenda included minutes from the December meeting; approval of bills and accounts; and building and grounds requests.

Board members concurred with the superintendent's recommendation and approved the gifted plan as presented.

In a unanimous vote, the board approved an off-campus work project for the CTE Carpentry 2 and 3 students.

According to the request submitted by Brandon Savage, instructor, the project involves the construction of a pony shelter at Sprouses Corner Ranch. The 10 by 18-foot building will be used as a staging area for the Heartland Horse Heroes therapeutic riding program.

Reviewing Policy JO, which the board will vote on next month, Blair explained that the policy deals with maintaining student records. He said the change recommended by the Virginia School Boards Association adds a section on electronic information that can be exempt from the records.

The board unanimously approved an overnight field trip request for the HOSA Club, whose members are enrolled in the nursing program, to attend their state leadership conference in Williamsburg.

Blair advised that the damage caused by the August earthquake was more than initially thought. He said that the high school and Gold Hill Elementary experienced the most damage. He stressed, “There is no unsafe situation.” Blair added that the chimney at the high school was repaired soon after the earthquake.

Blair stated that the estimate for the repairs totals $39,782. Noting that the area doesn't usually experience earthquakes, he explained that the coverage requires a $25,000 deductible, resulting in a net claim of $14,958.11. In turn, the board approved the claim as presented.

Following a closed session, the board approved the personnel agenda as amended.

Included were the resignations of Sarah McQuiddy as assistant coach for varsity softball; Stephanie Playton, instructional technology resource teacher; and Erica Newberry, choral and band teacher for BCMS and BCHS.

Appointments included Betty Moss as inventory coordinator for the Dillwyn Primary 21st Century Grant; Marie Black, substitute for winter cheerleading; Kelvin Rose, substitute bus driver; and Danielle Minnick, substitute teacher.

Current openings include school finance manager; special education teacher; instructional technology resource teacher; choral and band teacher for BCMS and BCHS; tech specialist; BCMS special education personal aide; weight-room supervisor; assistant coach for varsity softball; assistant coach for JV baseball; and assistant coach for boys track.