School Worker Lauded
Published 12:21 pm Thursday, July 4, 2013
BUCKINGHAM – During the June 11 meeting of the Buckingham County School Board, an example of the inherent qualities of the school division's staff was highlighted with the presentation of a certificate of recognition to Amina Lee.
Superintendent Cecil Snead explained that they were recognizing Lee for her professionalism and decision-making actions in the line-of- duty.
According to Dr. Snead, Lee responded to a medical emergency experienced by a student and accompanied the child in the ambulance to a medical facility in an effort to ensure that the child would be comforted until the parent arrived.
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“All is well now but it is those kinds of things on a daily basis that our employees face and that is the split-second decisions with honoring the safety of a child,” stated Snead.
He added, “That's bravery and that is doing a good job. And, Amina, we thank you for being in our school system.”
In turn, Lee thanked the board for the certificate and humbly shared that she did what anyone would do under the circumstances.
Supervisor John Staton went to the podium during the public comment segment. Sharing that he attended the BCHS Class of 2013 graduation ceremony, he stated, “It was one of the better ones I have attended.” He offered, “I thought the students conducted themselves well. I was very proud of the board and of the staff. I think it was well done and I think you need to be commended for it and so does the student body.”
During his report, Snead advised that with reassignments necessitated by the departure of Donna Matthews, director of academic services, he asked Llewellyn to work with the gifted program.
Llewellyn explained that she updated the gifted plan that Matthews prepared last year. She reported that Angela Jones was added to the Gifted Advisory Council to replace Matthews. Additionally, Llewellyn is listed as the gifted education consultant for the Exceptional Education Program.
Continuing with his report to the board, Dr. Snead introduced a long list of proposed policy updates for “the first reading.” As usual, the board will consider adopting the policies next month after taking the opportunity to read and review them.
Snead explained that some of the proposed policies require regulation. He added, “There has been some slight tweaking of language with regard to reduction in professional work force; homebound, correspondence and alternative means of instruction; locally awarded verified credits; student absences, excuses, dismissals; student conduct; administering medicines to children; charter schools; standards of student conduct; and student suspensions/expulsions.
The superintendent said the staff is taking a close look at the revisions to see how they will effect the upcoming school year. “However, we haven't really seen anything that would be of significant consequences,” he stated.
His report also included routine taking care of business items. Responding to what Snead described as an annual formality for receiving grant reimbursements through the VPSA, the board approved the FY13 VPSA Grant Reimbursement Resolution.
The board also concurred with Snead's recommendation to decline the “opt out” option of the Virginia Retirement System's Virginia Local Disability Program and stay with the program for those employees that will be covered by the VRS Hybrid Plan.
“Essentially what we are doing is declining the opt out so that we can actually have the disability program through VRS,” explained Snead prior to the vote.
In keeping with state requirements to phase in new evaluation processes for school employees, the board accepted the new state requirements for principal evaluations.
Following up on its previous action to give Gold Hill Elementary School to the county, the school board unanimously approved a resolution officially conveying the title of the property to the Buckingham County Board of Supervisors.
The board approved the 2013-2014 Federal Programs Consolidated Application prepared by Thelma Llewellyn, director of student services.
Snead said Llewellyn put a lot of time and effort in the application because of the resultant federal funding for Title I, II, and VI. He added that she budgeted with Sequestration in play.
Llewellyn said they would be spending the money similar to what they did this year-focusing on personnel. “And we will spend some money on supplies and professional development,” she added.
Vice Chair Sherry Ragland, who led with the motion for approval, added her appreciation to Llewellyn for her work.
The board approved the contract for the FY13 Student Activity Funds Audit with Robinson, Farmer, Cox Associates, LLC. The audit will include auditing the student activity funds at each school. Total cost is $5,900.
After an explanation by Chip Davis, facilities director, regarding recommendations for the FY14 cafeteria contracts for dairy, bakery, and food/supplies, the board agreed with staff recommendations and approved contracts with Flowers Baking Company of Lynchburg, LLC with a bid of $21,973 for bakery products; Land-O-Sun Dairies, dba PET Dairy with a bid of $106,183 for dairy products; and Hill City and Wood Company with a bid of $254,416.53 for food/supplies.
While discussing the bids, Ragland asked about the feasibility of outsourcing the cafeteria operations and/or working with other divisions in the region.
Davis offered that superintendents have been discussing a cooperative approach for a number of years.
Brian Green, director of human resources, shared that about five years ago, the division looked into the feasibility of outsourcing food services but the division was too small and would need to form an alliance with other divisions to be able to attract companies providing such services.
Snead offered that Ragland's questions were good and that they reinforced the commitment to look at all options for the most efficient and effective use of funds. “We will continue to look at all options,” assured Snead.
When the bid recommendations for fuel came up later in the meeting, Snead explained that this was an example of working with other divisions.
“Understanding the volatility of the market and operating in a tighter budget, led to thinking that we wanted to be sure we understand what we are spending and not be held prisoner to a possible volatile market for fuel,” shared Snead.
He explained that the framework led to a suggestion by Ronnie Palmore, director of transportation, to look at a consortium bid on fuel. Snead noted that Palmore's office researched the idea extensively including what would happen if they locked in at the current market price.
“In every instance we not only were assured of how much we knew we would pay but we saved money,” said Snead. “So, yesterday we had to be present for the opening of the bids so what you see in front of you on the screen are the bids that came forth.”
Continuing, Snead said for FY14 they are recommending purchasing heating oil from Southern States, at $2.995 per gallon; unleaded gasoline from James River Petroleum at $2.904 per gallon and diesel at $3.053 per gallon; and propane from Foster Fuels at $1.389 per gallon.
Subsequently, Thomas Hutcherson led with the motion to accept the FY14 Fuel Consortium Bid.
During the discussion, Snead offered, “I can't say enough about the hard work that Mr. Palmore, Mr. Davis, Ms. Huddleston, and Ms. Wier did to get us here.” He added, “This is our first shot at doing this so we hope it works out for us.”
Chairman Ed Wise shared, “Not only do I think it is good pricing but it is also a huge unknown every year as to what the price of fuel can do to you.” He added, “So it is reassuring.”
Snead added that another concern each year is hurricane season and its possible effect on the Gulf. “And this year they are forecasting a rough hurricane season,” he stated.
Theresa Bryant offered, “This helps with the budget, too.” Subsequently, the motion passed with a unanimous vote.
The board agreed to continue contracting with J. Patrick Lockhard, Ed.S. to serve as a school psychologist on a part-time basis during FY14.
Llewellyn explained that the division has a fulltime psychologist, Laura Early; and Lockhard has worked with her for the last several years. His contract calls for 75 to 85 workdays at $430 per day.
At the conclusion of his report, Dr. Snead, who was appointed to lead Buckingham County Public Schools almost a year ago, shared, “I really do want to say, as the superintendent of the school system, to every employee out there, I think you really do represent Buckingham very well on your day-to-day business.
“Ms. Lee's exemplary performance, the area of transportation and our cafeteria workers work hard as well, and then all of our teachers who have worked so hard along with their students with regard to Standards of Learning.”
Offering that he didn't want to leave anyone out, Snead continued, “I also want to commend my administrators who have experienced some change this year in terms of the workload I've placed on them. My building level administrators are working hard and doing a good job and I want to thank you. The central office administrators have taken on an extra load lately.”
Snead stated, “The reason I am so appreciative of all of them is because it is a real team effort of 'what do you need' and 'how can we solve this.'”
He concluded, “I really have to take my hat off to my team for their support this year. You really need to know that and it needs to be stated publically because you make Buckingham look good.”
Palmore shared that on March 23, Buckingham sent what he described as three excellent competitors to the Region 8 School Bus Rodeo held in Keysville.
Sharing that the team missed first place last year by four points and the year before by eight points, Palmore stated, “This year they stepped up to the occasion…and Buckingham County won by 188 points.”
Passing the first place plaque around the board table, Palmore noted that the rodeo dates back to 1992, and this is the first time Buckingham is listed. “So that means a great deal to me, these ladies, the drivers. And, all of Buckingham County should be proud of them,” he said.
Palmore introduced Edna Baldwin and Tammy Huddleston. The third member of the winning team, Cheryl Mullins was unable to attend the meeting.
According to Palmore, after the announcement about the winning team, they called the names of those with the top individual scores. Although someone from another county earned first place individual, Baldwin placed second, Mullins third, and Huddleston fourth.
The board reacted with a round of applause and congratulatory remarks.
The board approved its consent agenda, which included minutes of the May 8 meeting, auditing and approval of bills and accounts, enrollment reports for May and June, and building and grounds use requests.
Although the BCHS JROTC request to attend Summer Camp at Fort Pickett was previously approved, the board, acting on Snead's recommendation, agreed to authorize the use of another school bus to carry the equipment and supplies.
Palmore explained that the school division would be reimbursed by the federal government for the expenses incurred.
The board also agreed to set its FY14 reorganization meeting for Wednesday, July 10, 6 p.m., in the Window Room at the Buckingham CTE Center.
Following a closed session, the board awarded the contract for the purchase of AEDs, Automated External Defibrillators, to Cintas.
Personnel items approved by the board included the retirement of Irma Gregory, effective June 30. Resignations included Sallie Shackelford, BCHS math teacher; Sarah Letterman, BP/BE music teacher; and Steve Palmore, CTE auto mechanics instructor.
Appointments included Taylor Boyers, BP physical education teacher; Charlotte Trant, BP/BE music teacher; Robert Rich, BCHS math teacher; Alani Staples, BCHS guidance counselor; and Katie Davis, speech pathologist.