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Food program, central school site discussed

SoVaNow.com / December 20, 2017
Other matters to come up at Monday’s School Board meeting:

Park View High School Band Director Chris McDilda received approval for his request to designate old band instruments as surplus. However, before they are sold or disposed of, Board member Wanda Bailey asked that McDilda meet with music teachers at the other schools to see if they can be used by them for their music programs. She specifically referenced Chase City Elementary School, which asked for money in its 2019 budget to purchase instruments for the school music program.

Bain and Phyllis Cameron outlined a pilot project they plan to implement in the next few months in Mecklenburg County known as the FeedMore program.

Phyllis explained the impetus behind the program is the high number of students living in food insufficient households. There are 1,140 children in Mecklenburg County who don’t always know where they’ll get their next meal, she said adding that “We are hoping to partner with one of your elementary schools to bring a School Market Program to the county.”

Their plan, because of limited funding, is to start with one school, before expanding to the other schools in the program.

Typically, Phyllis said, they provide food ahead of weekends, usually on a Thursday. Any family that has children in the school or the school’s faculty, staff or volunteers can come get food on that date.

They set up like a farmer’s market to reduce stigma, said Phyllis and there is no means test. Most of the food they offer is fresh produce to create a healthy eating environment, but they fill in with staple items such oatmeal, peanut butter, spaghetti sauce and noodles, and also perishable foods like bread, frozen meat.

The Camerons said they expect to identify a school for their pilot project after the first of the year.

Brian Dalton, head of maintenance for the school division provided a quick update on capital improvement projects throughout the school division. The roofs at both LaCrosse and Chase City Elementary schools have been “recoated” by Affordable Roofing. Once the weather breaks, he said the company will then coat the roofs at the Central office and Clarksville Elementary School. The coating seals the roof from leaks, preserves it and extends its useful life.

The parking issue at South Hill Elementary School, which he referred to as the loop project, has been delayed, but Dalton said he hopes to get the drainage work done this winter and when temperature breaks, the project will be completed. The loop project is designed to redirect traffic in and around South Hill Elementary School in the hopes of alleviating traffic congestion.

Trane, the company hired to install energy upgrades, part of an energy performance contract has completed upgrades to the lighting and water/restroom facilities at each of the elementary schools, and they are starting to work on the new central controls.

Speaking during the public comment portion of the meeting, Bluestone High School band director Ricky Allgood implored the board to move forward with choosing the site for a new school.

“I am speaking frankly out of concern,” he said. As one who travels throughout Virginia and North Carolina, he said the Mecklenburg County Public school facilities are “the worst” of anywhere he attends.

The attitude and consensus among the public is that the board is “taking too much time. You were elected to build a new school, but one end is fighting the other jockeying for where [to site the project]. I admire what the board does, but you need to get together – vote to hire architect and you could not even agree to that ... You are not moving quick enough and it needs to be done,” said Allgood.

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