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First take on year-round Halifax County schools: ‘I don’t see it’

SoVaNow.com / November 15, 2018
The Halifax County School Board held its regular monthly meeting on Monday, focusing on capital improvements and possible solutions for financing the construction conundrum at Halifax County High School.

Superintendent Mark Lineburg reported on last week’s joint meeting with the Halifax County Board of Supervisors at which the year-round school option was presented for consideration by ED-1 Supervisor J.T. Davis.

The year-round school option would consist of the sixth grade returning to the elementary schools and the high school population sharing the middle school building, which would then house grades 7-12. The academic year would be spread out over 12 months instead of the traditional 10, with several three-week breaks in rotation throughout. The current high school building would not be used.

The pros and cons of this potential solution to the county’s facility funding issues are what the School Board has begun deliberating following Lineburg’s feedback from the joint session.

“Firstly I would say, with a project of this magnitude, we owe it to everyone to consider all aspects,” said trustee Roy Lloyd. “With that being said, it doesn’t really sound like a viable proposal to me.”

Lloyd cited the physical and logistical issues of high school students using a school built for younger students, as well as the challenges the new schedule could place on parents and their childcare considerations.

“I don’t think that in itself was a good option. I don’t think that we should immediately decline any options, but that to me doesn’t sound like it should be a primary option,” Lloyd concluded.

Trustee Walter Potts shared the same concerns: “I can’t see how that could be a viable option for us. I don’t see it.”

Other concerns raised by board members on the topic included bus maintenance, bus schedules, summer earnings for students and a realistic timeline for all options to be considered.

Board co-chairman Sandra Garner-Coleman stressed patience in weighing options before the county knows how much the General Assembly may help fund a construction project. When they reconvene in January, the General Assembly will consider House Bill 1634, which was put forth by Del. James Edmunds, and would provide at least part of the funding for the facility fixes in the county.

Trustee Joe Gasperini said, “What we need is a combination of state funds and local funds. Now we are in the situation where we’ve got a $100 million high school that needs to be built, and we’re right on the cusp of getting substantial money from the state, and what we need to do is keep moving forward.

“We’ll have a combination package between the local government and the state to pay for the school. So, what I think we need to do is we need to continue in a positive way, moving forward,” said Gasperini. “We’re not going to make any decisions tonight, but we’re not going to shy away from what we know is our responsibility to meet the needs of our children, now and in the future.”

INSTRUCTION

School quality was another big focus for the meeting. Lineburg presented a new tool, accessible on the Virginia Department of Education website, that provides information on the system by individual school. The tool can provide specific statistics about a school’s academics, absenteeism and discipline. The VDOE program generates school report cards and offers a search option. This information also comes in handy for any companies or individuals interested in relocating to Halifax County.

Lisa Long updated the board on the progress of the Math Specialist Partnership with Old Dominion University that is providing education and training for six current county teachers. While the program is fully funded by HCPS, all six participants teach full time in addition to their studies.

Behavioral Specialist Kelsey McCluster provided an update to the board on her work at Halifax County Middle School. While McCluster officially serves the entire district, she is based at HCMS, where most of her work happens. She provided some measurements about how discipline is being handled in the school, building her behavioral curriculum in the middle school and tracking results closely. She has a long-term goal of a Region 8 school with a Nationally Recognized American School Counseling Association Model Program.

HCMS prinicipal Maggie Wilkerson commented on the success of the program so far. “Because of her work, I feel like my teachers can focus more on that core instruction. She is a tremendous asset to us.”

Ben Woosley and Marcia Crowder brought American Education Week (Nov. 12-16) to the meeting. “American Education Week origins dates back to WWI, and was created by the National Education Association and the American Legion in 1919 as a way to generate public support for education. This week highlights the importance of bringing together educators, parents, students, and communities in a unified effort to build great public schools,” explained Woosely, President of the Halifax Education Association.

The next School Board meeting is Monday, Dec. 19, at 6:30 p.m.



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Comments

Lobby the morons in DC to stop the insanity in Afghanistan and your funding problem is solved. We dropped 5,213 bombs in Afghanistan just this year and after 17 years of war "According to U.S. government and independent assessments, terrorists, mainly the Taliban, control more territory now than during any other time since the Afghanistan war began more than 17 years ago, in October 2001." Each JDAM costs approximately $18,000.
https://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2018/11/14/u-s-military-drops-record-5213-bombs-afghan-jihadis-year/

Comments

A building does not make a quality education. Stop all the bs programs, focus on traditional learning. Cut staff at the central office. Bring back discipline. Get the GA to pass laws that will allow the kids to be punished an expelled. Reduce the drop out age back to 16, don't let kids stay in school till they are 21 just to keep getting benefits or because they have an IEP. We have become a weak nation. Time to bring back sanity and discipline. Kids need to know their place!

Comments

The schools along with all of the county buildings need proper maintenance. These idiots allow the buildings to get in such horrible condition and then say,"Hey, its cheaper to bild!!!"
Gasperini needs to take his crap back to the northern end of the state or further. He's got a large house and apparently a lot of money and he has no idea the financial condition of this county. He should know, all of the schools qualify for free lunches, which is not a compliment to the area's finances. This happened under his watch. Free Lunch Gasperini.
If they push through or ram this new 100 million dollar school down the throat of the uneducated masses of the county, it will end this county. It will bankrupt this county to spend that much borrowed money.
We can only pray that the BOS will stand up for the taxpayers.

Comments

No tax increase, you start off by complaining about schools and county buildings needing proper maintenance and then rip into Mr. Gaspirini and end by praying the BOS will stand up for the taxpayers, but what about the BOS authorizing over $20 million for a court house? You also talk about all schools having free lunch as an accurate depiction of the financial crisis in Halifax. Well, over 368 schools are eligible for free lunch for all in the state of Virginia, with over a third of school divisions being eligible and 16 divisions currently participating in free lunch for all including local divisions such as Danville and Martinsville with Pittsylvania County looking to participate in the next year. Mecklenburg is on the list and they are spending over $115 million to get their students a new school and Pittsyvania has built new or renovated all middle and high schools within the last 5-10 years. So let us do what is right for our children and county.


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