No Speakers For School Budget Hearing

Published 4:48 pm Thursday, March 21, 2013

PRINCE EDWARD -The school board, dealing with challenges in the loss of state and federal funding and declining enrollment, held a public hearing March 7 in one of many steps in the budget development process.

And, while there was no firm proposal nailed down prior to the hearing, there were no speakers for the rescheduled meeting.

“…If we don't have any participation here, I hope… when it comes time for…our budget (to go) before the board of supervisors, I hope we have some participation there…,” Board Chairman Russell Dove offered with a chuckle.

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The hearing that was part of the board's set March 6 meeting was moved to March 7 as snow arrived the morning of the scheduled meeting date.

And, while the school board may propose, it is the county's board of supervisors that is married to the funding contained in a final approved budget.

Supervisors, yet to start their budget discussions in earnest, are scheduled to approve school funding at the end of April.

In Other News…

*Prince Edward Middle School has been recognized by the Southern Association of Colleges and School Council on Accreditation and School Improvement for 25 years of continuous accreditation.

The school has been accredited since it was formed as a school serving students in grades five-eight in 1988. The elementary school, Dr. Smith reported, has been accredited for 34 years, the high school since 1972.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment of which we're very proud,” Dr. Smith highlighted.

In April, he further detailed, they will undergo an external review to achieve district accreditation “an even higher level of recognition and award by AdvancED.”

*The school board approved the After Prom Committee's requested $1,000 donation. The event will be held at the Main Street Lanes.

*The school board was presented and approved a timetable for implementing the comprehensive plan. Goal committee chairs developed the timetable collaboratively.

The school board approved a long-range comprehensive plan for 2013-18 in January that included a vision and mission statement. It also specifically addresses six areas, aiming to: improve academic opportunities and achievement for all students while closing the achievement gap; strengthen home, school, business and community engagement to advance staff and student achievement; ensure that schools are safe, orderly, nurturing, and supportive of quality teaching; promote a positive, healthy and inviting school culture conducive to learning; optimize effective use and management of operational resources that support teaching and learning; and hire, support, and retain highly qualified teachers and staff.

School board member Dr. Ellery Sedgwick maintained in the discussion that rather than a revision they were told they could add measurable objectives.

*School board members agreed to add a completion sequence of Robotics I and II to the program of studies.

*The board received possible changes to the program of studies for the middle and high schools. The school board discussed several issues related to the high school program at length on a variety of issues, including prerequisites for dual enrollment courses. The board approved the middle school's program of studies and is expected to consider action of the high school program at their work session this week.

*Parent Heather Edwards, speaking in the public participation portion of the meeting, raised several concerns for the school board.

Referencing a recent incident, she suggested that they never underestimate the power of social media in the community.

As soon as information is available, Edwards suggested, they should bring it to parents. In noting a recent incident, Edwards offered that an early morning call would have been fine.

She also asked if there is anything parents can do to help with the budget, to help them “advance the very, very exciting comprehensive plan” to let them know.