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Gasperini, Garner Coleman tapped to lead Halifax County school board

South Boston News
Joe Gasperini was elected as chairman of the Halifax County School Board Tuesday and Sandra Garner Coleman was elected to serve as vice chairman. (SOMcL photo) / January 11, 2018

Along with welcoming three new members Tuesday night, the Halifax County School Board named ED-4 trustee Joe Gasperini to serve as chairman for the coming year and newcomer Sandra Garner Coleman to serve as vice chair.

Gasperini was nominated by ED-5 trustee Freddie Edmunds, seconded by ED-1 trustee Orey Hill. There were no other nominations made for the position.

Garner Coleman, ED-3 trustee, was nominated for vice chair by Hill with ED-8 trustee Walter Potts offering a second. No other nominations were made.

The election of Gasperini and Garner Coleman was unanimous.

In addition to the new vice chair, Tuesday’s meeting was the first for new trustees Todd Moser in ED-6 and Roy Keith Lloyd in ED-2.

The full board then approved the appointment of Robin Mahan as clerk and Joyce Townes as deputy clerk. Valdivia Hall was named to attend School Board meetings in the absence of the superintendent.

Winding up their organizational business during the Tuesday night meeting at Meadville Elementary School, the trustees approved changes to their meeting schedule, with all meetings set to begin at 6:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month.

The 6:30 start time marks a change from past years, when school board meetings have started at 6 p.m., first with a closed session, followed by the public session at 7:30 p.m. Closed sessions, when needed, will take place at the end of the public sessions under the new schedule.

In yet another change, trustees decided to hold their meetings each month, rotating from the second floor Mary Bethune Complex public meeting room to one of the county’s public schools for their next meeting. A notice of the location for each monthly meeting will be made public.

Gasperini asked Mahan to name three members of the board to serve on the Discipline Committee for January and three others to serve on the same committee during February. Those members will attend meetings as needed to hear discipline cases.

It will be mandatory that all three members of the committee agree on the results of their hearing. Should any committee member disagree on the outcome, the matter will be brought back to the full board for action in closed session.

Superintendent Mark Lineburg updated trustees on the accreditation status of Sinai Elementary as required by a memorandum of understanding with the state. Current data shows that scores at Sinai were higher on 11 tests than they were last year including fourth grade science test scores that rose from 19 to 77, second grade reading from 58 to 83; fifth grade reading from 74 to 100 and second grade math from 30 to 59.

Trustees approved Lineburg’s recommendation to approve Moseley Architects of Richmond to carry out a comprehensive facility study of school properties at a cost of $174,360. The local facility committee submitted proposals for bids from architectural/engineering firms with over 10 firms responding.

Lineburg presented trustees with a comprehensive facility study and report which includes the history of all the county’s school facilities, identifying the specific needs of each.

He and maintenance director Jay Jennings went over the report, pointing out the areas of greatest need. They asked trustees at their February meeting to look over the report and work on prioritizing a timeline for the work to be carried out.

He said he hopes that $600,000 to $700,000 of the work can be done each summer until the list is completed.

Lineburg ended the meeting by noting students would return to classrooms on Wednesday after critically low temperatures and icy roadways delayed schools for the past four days.

Wednesday marked the first day that students have been in school since the Christmas holidays.

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