School Board Okays Budget

Published 5:22 pm Tuesday, March 20, 2012

CUMBERLAND – Last week the School Board approved the 2012-2013 Superintendent's proposed operating budget, which is based on the Governor's proposed budget due to the General Assembly not passing a state budget.

The school division's budget now moves down Route 60 to the County for inclusion in the overall Cumberland County budget, which gets final presentation to the Board of Supervisors during a scheduled public hearing on April 3.

According to the overall budget, the school division's budget includes a decrease in state funding of $282,816; VRS/group life/benefits rate increase of $485,000; loss of federal funds-JOBS money in the amount of $247,000; and an increase in health insurance for participants in the amount of $64,866. The total budget shortfall amount was $1,078,866.

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The school's Central Office staff worked throughout the budget process to make cuts to close the budget shortfall by approximately $600,000.

Those cuts included eliminating Cortez history and math labs, Act!Earth, a bus purchase, a New Beginnings elective teaching position, one special education teaching position, one secondary librarian, existing benefits from not replacing Coordinator of Custodians, a part-time transition specialist position, reducing the senior project stipend, and one special education master teacher stipend. The athletic director duties will also be consolidated through a transition and the Coordinator of Transition will take over those responsibilities, as well.

Also, according to the budget report, 1,360 students are projected as the enrollment, which is a decrease of 40 students from the enrollment projection for the current year.

The requested funding increase from the County (Board of Supervisors) is due to the increase in VRS rates, according to past budget discussions given by Superintendent Dr. Amy Griffin.

The proposed operating budget includes $8,213,201 of state funds; $1,848,515.97 of federal funds; and $3,972,418.81 of local funds (a $485,000 increase from the current budget appropriation due to requesting that the local government cover the VRS rate increase).

The operating budget is identified to total $14,253,627.78.

Since the budget was first presented as a first read item in February, the School Board has also held a joint work session with the Board of Supervisors on February 16 and held a public hearing on the budget on February 27. There were no speakers signed up to address the budget at that public hearing.

School Calendar

School Board members also approved the school calendar for upcoming year as presented. The calendar was first presented last month as a first read item and is based on four nine-week grading periods.

Ten teacher in-service workdays are scheduled for staff development and students are scheduled for 180 instructional classroom days.

The first day for students is on August 9 and the first semester will end on December 18, according to the new calendar.

The last day scheduled for students next year is May 17, 2013.

Story Telling With An iPad

Students from Kim Hailey's class at the Elementary School presented their storytelling skills to School Board members through skills they've learned while utilizing an iPad in the classroom.

The second grade students gave a demonstration showing how applications found online for the iPad can assist with encouraging and reinforcing writing and storytelling skills.

In Other School Business

Cora Harris presented the Career and Technical Education Local Plan for 2012-2013 as a first read item to School Board members.

The Special Education Annual Plan and Title VI-B and VI-B Incentive Plan 2012-2013 was also presented by Bernice Ford.

The plan, policies, and procedures will be reviewed by the Special Education Advisory Committee this month and will be on display for public review at the School Board Office, she advised.

The plan also consists of three sections and will be presented for approval at the April School Board meeting.

The Superintendent, Dr. Griffin, later presented policy updates and revisions for consideration.

The items were presented as a first read and the majority, she said, are dictated by legislative action resulting in the Code of Virginia being amended or court action.

Change In April Meeting

The School Board did approve changing the meeting date for the Board's April meeting to Monday, April 16 due to Cumberland County Public Schools being on Spring Break.


The School Board continued with its tradition of recognizing students of the month during the Board's meeting.

The Cumberland Elementary School Student of the Month for the month of February was Shaiann Allen, pre-kindergarten. The Middle School Student of the Month was Ebony Jones, eighth grade; and the High School Student of the Month was Brandon Bailey, grade 11.

Evan Arrighi's art was recognized during the meeting also. It was chosen by Longwood Center for Visual Arts as the art that will be printed on all of the Center's publicity announcements for the upcoming year.

The Cumberland Woman's Club art and writing contest winners were also recognized at the School Board meeting.

The students recognized for art included: Ella Hobson, Anya Howells, Malachi Blakey, Makaylah Fields, Mason Ludgate, Ranesha Langhorne, Tina Pence, Alexandra Tavernier, Marya Elasha, A'jewelay Booker, Tiara Beaty, Cheyenne Bowles, Chase Grubbs, Carlos Campos, Lora Long, Amber George, Will Oertel, Breanna Davis, Hannah Elstun, Kaitlyn Rice, Jeanne Robinson, Leah Strawn, Candace Taylor, Alana Wood, and Tamara Wright.

The students recognized for writing entries included: Hunter Cochran, Ahkiya Allen, Sonny Dominick, Holly Tillett, Elena Sustaita, Alexis Ellis, Kyera Broxton, Jada Harris, Hannah King, Matthew Horton, Harry Bailey, Kelsey Dietz, Elijah Rhoden, Taylor Hayes, Danielle Leonard, and Shannon Spillman.

Members of the Superintendent's Student Panel were also honored at the meeting. The students participating in the panel include: Kyle Fant, Lacreesha Reed, Preston Sutton, Amatale Fulani, Kelsey Tucker, Caroline Seal, Nadia Elasha, Christopher Deane, Allison Gilbert, Colby White, Ivy Arbaugh, and Mason Dukes.

Meet the Staff honorees this month were Claudette Trent for the Elementary School; Reginald Reed at the Middle School; and Catherine Fleischman for the High School.

The Meet the Community recognition was awarded to Gurinder “Gary” Singh. He is the owner of Raman's convenience store in Cumberland County.

Board Comments

“It's always very exciting to see all of these students present…,” offered School Board member Dr. Christine Ross. “Having said that, I'm confident that with what you've proposed for the budget as being a bare minimum that we will have the support of the Board of Supervisors so that we don't have a smaller group of students. We had a packed house-standing room only-for all those recognitions in leadership, athletics…art, writing, and we have to have that continue.”

The School Board Chair, Ginger Sanderson, thanked the teachers and students “for showing off their rigor in writing.”

“We just finished the SOL writing test,” she said. “And I heard some of the students were writing into the afternoon, as I'm sure they were around the state, but I'm very proud that they all took their time and showed what they had been taught…”

Ms. Sanderson later said, “I would also like to encourage people to attend our meetings but also attend the Board of Supervisors meetings and show your support for the schools because without our voice, whether its local or down at the state, we're not going to be heard so we need to continue to show our presence.”