Schools to have half day for debate

Published 12:48 pm Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Prince Edward County Public School students will only go to school for a half day on Oct. 4, the day of the U.S. Vice Presidential Debate at Longwood University. The Prince Edward County School Board voted unanimously to approve Superintendent Dr. Barbara Johnson’s request during its Sept. 7 meeting.

Johnson said although the current calendar lists the schools as being open Oct. 3-4, she wanted to see a half day on Oct. 4.

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“I would like for our children to be actively engaged in the debate and in the activities here. It’s an historic event and I want our children to be very much a part of that,” she said.

Johnson said she believes if students are at school for one or two whole days, then they won’t take full advantage of local activities provided for them by the town and university.

“There’s much that can happen here and this can be used as a real learning opportunity for our students,” Johnson said, noting Longwood University has provided teachers with activities to use in their classrooms. “On Tuesday (Oct. 4), because the debate is late that night and because of all the preparations that are being made in … Farmville and in the county, I would rather our children go home a half day (at) 12:30, make sure that they are safe and at home and settled.”

She said she doesn’t want children getting home later than usual or buses getting rerouted.

“I just want them to be home where they can watch the debate with their parents. If we stay in school till 3 o’clock and our last bus doesn’t usually leave here until 3:40, it will be very difficult to get our buses back to help Longwood with moving personnel around,” Johnson said.

She said PEC schools have agreed to a partnership with Longwood where the university will use their division’s as transportation for debate personnel.

The board’s unanimous vote came with no discussion.

During the meeting, Johnson also announced an increase in school attendance.

“We were budgeted at 1,990 students and so our general enrollment is up. If you include our 75 pre-K we are at 2,135 students as of the 31st of August,” she said.

Director of Support Services Richard Goode presented a finalized form and fees for individuals interested in renting school athletic facilities, multipurpose rooms, classrooms, cafeterias and libraries.

The form lists fees associated with the rental for four different categories of renters, ranging from nonprofit to for-profit organizations.

According to the form, cooperative organizations with a school-related mission and nonprofit youth organizations can utilize most of the facilities for free.

The board approved the form unanimously.

Elizabeth Hall Magill presented the board with information about the Prince Edward Public School Endowment (PEPSE). Magill has been PEPSE chair since January, prior to which the organization was inactive for three years.

She said PEPSE doesn’t want to do anything the school board would do. Rather, she said, they will “use their money to enhance and improve schools.”