Sanderson Remains Chair

Published 3:53 pm Thursday, January 23, 2014

CUMBERLAND — While the Cumberland County School Board is keeping the status-quo by reelecting their chairman and vice-chairman during January’s organizational meeting, they’ve also added a few more items to their legislative wish list.

School board member Ginger Sanderson, District One, has retained her seat as Cumberland County School Board chairman for the upcoming calendar year. George Reid Jr., District Four, has also retained his seat as vice-chair.

Both were elected unanimously during the board’s January 13 organizational meeting.

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The board also unanimously voted to approve Superintendent Dr. Amy Griffin’s proposed legislative priorities, which they had been given the previous month as a first read. This year’s list is just a bit longer than last year’s.

Dr. Griffin explained to the board that many of the priorities were based on the Virginia Association of School Superintendents (VASS) lobbying agenda.

The priorities focused primarily on state funding of Standards of Quality (SOQ). The SOQ are comprised of the state requirements for schools found in the Code of Virginia. The board’s new priorities emphasize both an increase in funding, including full funding of all state mandates, and increased flexibility for schools regarding how they can use the funds.

State funding of local schools is still below pre-recession levels. While the amount has been increasing since 2012, according to the VASS, the state is funding schools $384 less, per pupil, than it was in 2009.

The priorities call for a delay in the A-F grading system for schools, currently scheduled to go into effect this fall. They also call for a one-year extension in the current time-line to fully fund Virginia Retirement System funds. An extension of the VRS time-line would diminish its fiscal impact on the school budget, the priorities state.

Finally, in connection of the Standards of Learning, the priorities emphasize the need to reduce the number of mandated tests students must complete before graduation and the establishment of a state-wide task force to reform the current school accountability and accreditation system.

During discussion in December’s meeting, Dr. Griffin explained the priorities could be used to focus discussion during the Virginia School Board Association legislative conference, which is scheduled for January 27. The conference provides school board members an opportunity to lobby their representatives at the state capitol while general assembly is in session.

Board Meetings

The board unanimously voted to continue meeting on the second Monday of each month. Their meetings will begin at 6 p.m. with a closed session as the first item on the agenda. The regular portion of the meeting, which includes recognitions, will begin at 7 p.m.