Board Honors Staton
BUCKINGHAM – The September meeting of the Buckingham County School Board began with the presentation of a resolution honoring Joan Branch Staton.
Prior to her most recent role as interim superintendent, Staton served as a teacher and principal for over 33 years.
Before presenting the resolution to Staton, Superintendent Cecil Snead read it to the audience.
Highlighting Staton's dedication to students, staff, and community members, the resolution recognized her advocacy for all children and putting their needs first.
According to the resolution, Staton, as principal of Buckingham Primary School, provided leadership that resulted in BPS being recognized twice with the Governor's Award for Excellence based on the Virginia Index of Performance.
Additionally, under her leadership, BPS was recognized by the Board of Education of the Commonwealth of Virginia as a Distinguished Title I School for exceeding objectives for learning in reading and mathematics.
Reading from the resolution, Dr. Snead added, “She provided leadership at a school that was fully accredited and ranked among the best in Virginia.”
Along with highlighting Staton's role as an effective school administrator, the resolution offered, “She served as a blessing and an inspiration to all she came in contact with.”
Continuing to read from the resolution, Snead shared, “BE IT RESOLVED, that the members of the Buckingham County School Board wish to express deepest appreciation for all that she has done for the students and staff at Buckingham County Public Schools, and to extend our best wishes for her retirement.”
Accepting the resolution, Staton thanked the board and stated, “It has been an honor and a privilege working for Buckingham. I feel so blessed to have put all my time here in this county.”
She expressed her appreciation not only to the school board and administration but also to her students, their parents, her staff and all those who have helped and supported her throughout her career. “Thank you all so much,” said Staton.
Dr. Snead began his report by presenting Virginia School Boards Association awards to the board.
Thomas Hutcherson received the Award of Honor and a gold pin; Pete Gowin, Acie Allen and Ed Wise, Certificates of Recognition; David Christian, Award of Excellence and a silver pin; and Kathy Midkiff and Sherry Ragland, Certificates of Appreciation.
“It is with gratitude and pride that I present these to you,” shared Snead.
Following an explanation from Snead regarding bids for school psychologist services, the board concurring with the superintendent's recommendation, hired J. Patrick Lockhart, as a vendor, to work with the division's psychologist.
Lockhart has worked with the school system in the past. According to Thelma Llewellyn, director of student services, he will work approximately 70 to 80 days during the school year.
Moving on to Medicaid billing services, Snead explained that no bids were received. However, he said that he, Llewellyn, and Sandy Wier, finance manager, would be attending an upcoming VDOE Medicaid Seminar on Medicaid billing.
According to Snead, after attending the workshop, he feels they will be better equipped to advise the school board on how to proceed regarding Medicaid billing. In turn, the board tabled the agenda item until after the workshop.
Continuing with his report, Snead recommended approval of the ESEA Local Consolidated Application, which covers the division's federal programs. Following a discussion on the funding, the board approved the application.
During the discussion, Snead explained that the application includes Title I, Part A, Improving Basic Programs, $644,788.33; Title II, Part A, Teacher Quality, $123,657.20; and Title VI, Part B, Subpart 2, Rural and Low Income School Program, $41,038.88, for a grand total of $809,484.41.
According to the superintendent, the funds would be spent on personnel services for those programs to include teachers, aides, and clerical. He explained that the funds would also cover employee benefits, professional development, materials and supplies, along with technology hardware and software.
While discussing funding, Snead also advised that there is a federal movement called sequestration that could financially affect all federal programs in the future.
“I wanted to bring that to light because we will need to be discussing this in the upcoming months,” offered Snead.
He explained that the impact on Virginia and the federal funding it receives would include automatic funding cuts required by the Budget Control Act of 2011, in the event Congress does not enact $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions.
Snead shared that in that scenario the sequestration would go into effect on January 2, 2013.
“It would not affect any of this money. We are good for FY13,” stated Snead. He explained that if sequestration happens, the impact would begin in FY14.
When Christian asked how much money he was talking about, Snead said a quick preliminary estimate places it around $61,000 to $65,000 in federal cuts.
Allen offered, “So what we are saying is that the state already did it and now it's time for the feds to do the same thing.”
Llewellyn added, “Special Ed will also take the same percentage cut…which will be anywhere between $45,000 and $50,000.”
The superintendent shared, “We have plans but we needed to communicate this to the board because it is something you will be hearing about.”
In an update on the FY12 Student Activity Funds audit, Snead said at the principals' meeting they went over the minor findings and have enacted action plans to correct them. He reiterated that most of the schools did not have any findings or recommendations and the ones that did were minor such as not having two signatures on a check. “And we are going to correct those,” assured Snead.
As part of his report, the superintendent provided information about a request from Ed Dike, BCHS activities director, to host a fundraiser, BUCKFEST 2012.
Snead shared, “Mr. Dike, if I might add, is doing a wonderful job trying to put together ideas to raise money for athletics.” Explaining that Dike was with the football team and was unable to attend the meeting, Snead presented a letter from Dike about the fundraiser.
In his letter, Dike described BUCKFEST as a Buckingham County Festival that would be held at the Middle School on Saturday, November 3, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.
According to the information in the letter, the BCHS Athletic Department will be offering vendor spaces for $15 in the bus loop parking lot and the adjoining field
“People can set up yard sale stuff, arts and crafts, or food stuff,” wrote Dike, who added that he has secured port-a-johns and a hand-wash station for the event.
Additionally, Dike wrote that he has arranged for someone to print T-shirts on-site and has “secured a kettle corn and funnel cake guy with a bounce house.”
In his letter, Dike stated, “This could be a lot of fun for the community and an excellent way for the school system to reach out to the community.”
After hearing the request, the board, with a motion by Ragland, unanimously approved the BUCKFEST request.
For more information or to reserve a space contact Dike at (434)969-6160, or email him at email@example.com.
Presenting a request from Brandon Savage, carpentry teacher at the Career and Technical Education Center, Snead explained that the Carpentry II and III students have an opportunity to work on the Straight Street building on Route 20.
Recommending approval of the request, Snead said the students would be performing hands-on work that covers the state's competencies for the course.
Savage shared, “This is a really, really good opportunity.” He explained that due to the size of the building, the project would be a yearlong one.
“I am very, very excited about this project,” stated Savage, adding that his students are eager to begin the project.
According to Savage, the students would be framing the interior walls including kitchen, bathroom, storage, and hallway. He said the project would simulate being on a job site and offers students some very important job training skills.
He added that working inside the building would also mean that weather would not be a factor.
Students would leave the Career and Technical Education Center at 8:30 a.m. and return at 11:15 a.m., Mondays through Fridays, said Savage, adding that Straight Street would provide water and bathroom facilities for the students while on the premises.
With a motion by Christian, the board offered its unanimous approval.
Earlier in the meeting, during the public comment segment, Michelle Wright, representing Straight Street, asked that the board grant permission for the carpentry class to work on the building.
“This is a keynote step in the process of completing the structure and making it more available for use,” explained Wright. “There is future work that we also hope that Mr. Savage and his class will be able to complete.”
Wright said the project would support two key goals of Straight Street-working collaboratively with other groups and supporting programs that positively impact Buckingham's youth.
The board unanimously approved its consent agenda, which included minutes, auditing and approval of bills and accounts, building and grounds requests, and home school/religious exemptions requests.
Dr. Snead shared a thank you letter from the Gooden family regarding the resolution the board presented to the family paying tribute to the life of Allen Gooden, Jr., who served Buckingham County Public Schools for over 40 years as a teacher, coach, principal, and school board member.
“The resolution words of remembrance truly reflect the strength of those unbreakable ties that our father forged with the community through faith, service and education,” offered the family.
Following a closed session, the board approved its personnel agenda as recommended.
The approval included the appointment of Patti Branch as an assistant principal for Buckingham County High School; and, the transfer of Anita Godsey from librarian to speech therapist.