School board eliminates raise; students to vote on new logo

Published 10:47 pm Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Due to a revenue shortfall at the state level, the Prince Edward County School Board decided to change a budgeted 2 percent raise for all division employees to a one-time bonus. The board made the decision during its meeting Wednesday.

Members discussed how much the bonus might be based on an expected $100,830 in state funds.  Board Chair Sherry Honeycutt and Superintendent Dr. Barbara Johnson recommended the money be split into $400 bonuses for each full-time and part-time contractual employee, leaving $31,000.

Johnson said she chose not to give full-time employees a higher raise in her proposal because she did not want to give the impression the division values one position over another. She said she wants to “move our culture forward.”

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Buffalo District representative Wilkie Chaffin made a motion for the board to split the remaining $31,000 among the full-time employees because “you don’t want employees to think we’re taking their money and using it on something else.” He included in his motion the removal of the 2 percent raise and the base $400 bonus for all employees.

Chaffin’s motion passed, with five of the members voting “yes.” Lockett District representative Chapman Hood Frazier and Vice Chair and Hampden District representative Beulah Womack abstained.

Also during the meeting, board members learned about the division’s efforts to redesign its image — starting with a new logo, which would be used throughout the division at all schools. The division has partnered with Longwood University’s Design Lab to rebrand their logo on a pro-bono basis. The student-led university program provides free design services for local businesses and organizations, both on and off campus.

Johnson and three Prince Edward students have been meeting with Longwood students each week for five weeks to narrow down the options to two different logos.

“We are trying to move forward as a division … we want pride amongst our students,” Johnson said.

Womack said he liked the fact that children get to make the decision, referring to a divisionwide student vote on the two logos that will take place next week.

Both logos feature an eagle mascot, purple and gold colors and the words “Prince Edward.”

Also Wednesday, the board celebrated successes among some of its students and faculty beginning with the Prince Edward County High School marching band. The band, Johnson said, is reaching milestones in history, noting its live performances on the FOX and MSNBC cable news networks.

The Virginia School Board Association recognized Womack, Farmville District’s Peter Gur and Leigh District representative Dr. Timothy Corbett Sr. with Awards of Excellence. Honeycutt received an Award of Achievement.

Awards of Recognition were also given to Frazier, Prospect District’s Darin Thomas, Farmville District representative Dr. Lawrence Varner and Clerk of the Board Melanie Adams.

Also, Johnson expressed gratitude to the Dominion Foundation for a $25,000 grant and Hampden-Sydney College and Longwood University for using the money to help Prince Edward County High School (PECHS) establish a molecular biology lab.

David Durren, a fourth-grade reading and social studies teacher at Prince Edward Elementary School, received recognition for work outside of school as the author of the book “Paddy’s Forest Adventure.”

The board recognized PECHS senior Henry Lutz for his golf achievements, including being named to the All-Region and All-Conference teams, in addition to receiving a state championship ring.

In other business, Honeywell’s Pete Monstello appeared for his second consecutive school board meeting to update the board and present information about a roof replacement at the elementary school. Board members will talk more about the project during their next meeting.