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Halifax County Trustees apologize for tossed lunch
SoVaNow.com / February 14, 2013The Halifax County School Board offered a public apology Monday night for the actions of a Halifax County Middle School cafeteria worker who tossed a student’s lunch in the trash after the child did not pay an outstanding balance for meals.
The episode came to light at an previous school board meeting when a local parent, Lisa Hatcher, complained to trustees. Hatcher decried the humiliation and embarrassment her daughter suffered when the cafeteria worker threw away her lunch in front of other students because her daughter owned $3.40 for a previous meal and had no money at the time.
The action, said ED-8 trustee Walter Potts in moving for a public apology, “was not part of the School Board’s policy.” His motion was seconded by ED-7 trustee Dick Stoneman and passed on a 7-0 vote (ED-1 trustee Karen Hopkins was absent from the meeting).
Dr. Merle Herndon, Superintendent of Schools, said students previously have had their lunches taken away for lack of payment, but the division is changing its procedure in such situations to keep from having to punish students. Instead, schools are working on way to notify parents if a child’s meal account is delinquent.
“We are not in the business of children not having their breakfasts or lunches, and children should not be the vehicle for being responsible for those charges. We will be sending messages directly to the parents to make then aware of any problem,” Herndon said.
In other action at Monday’s School Board meeting, Operations and Maintenance Director Larry Roller presented an update on work orders for maintenance of school facilities.
Roller pointed out that during the 2012 fiscal year, his office received 7,584 work orders, of which 7,400 were completed. Roller noted that the responsibilities of his department continue to increase, even as he has three fewer employees than he had in 2006.
“The increase in the workload means there is now about a six-week backlog of work where as formerly there was only a four-week backlog,” Roller told trustees.
Also, the School Board approved a budget timeline for the finance committee — made up of Roger Long, Dick Stoneman, Finance Director Jay Camp and Herndon — to meet over the next several weeks. The full board will gather for a March 25 special work session to finalize the budget, with another prior session yet to be scheduled. The School Board will submit its final budget to county supervisors on April 1.
Herndon also recognized School Board members for their work, and to show the appreciation of students, she presented each trustee with a packet of thank-you letters from students.
Board Chairman Kim Farson presented a gift to Board Clerk Robin Mahan and assistant clerk Joyce Townes in recognition of School Board Clerk Appreciation Week.
“Words cannot describe how much you do for us; you’re the mother of this board, putting up with all our questions and concerns,” Farson said to Mahan.
Trustees also moved for approval of the minutes, the financial report and the payment of bills to the consent agenda. However, they will not include financial reports that have not been received prior to the meeting in time for them to study such new financial matters.
The trustees also approved several resignations, including by Christie Adcock, a second grade teacher at South Boston Elementary School, effective Feb. 15; Tamara Y. Carter, a special education paraprofessional at Halifax County Middle School, effective Feb. 11; and Kayla Wade, a one-on-one paraprofessional at Meadville Elementary, effective Feb. 18.
Trustees also viewed a Powerpoint presentation made by Priscilla Price focusing on the activities of the 94 students at Cluster Springs Early Learning Center and 98 students at the South Boston/Halifax Early Learning Center.
Following a lengthy closed session, trustees approved three requests by students to return to school in Alternative Education from expulsions; suspended another student from school until Feb. 15; suspended six students long term with alternative education services provided for the remainder of the 2012-13 school year with no extracurricular activities nor allowance on school property. They also suspended a student for rest of school year with alternative education services and allowed a student to return to school from suspension on Feb. 12.
Trustees also approved the appointment of Amanda Toombs as a teacher at South Boston Elementary effective Feb. 19, at a salary of $38,437 since she has her masters degree; and they approved the appointment of Christopher T. Shelton as a computer technician, effective Feb. 12, at a salary of $38,082.
They further recommended that the following teachers be compensated (per diem rate) for their planning block during LaPrade’s absence, beginning Jan. 29 until LaPrade’s return: 1st Block – Dawn Miller. $40.17; 2nd Block – Martha Chandler, $50.30; 3rd Block – Debra Woltz, $44.42; and 4th Block – Kelvin Davis, $47.27.
CommentsWhat a waste of time an money! $400 for herndon to go to charlottesville, paying teachers to cover for another teacher? Now we have got to fight with the BOS to not give the school board anymore money.
- By allpolitical2 on 02 / 14 / 13
CommentsWhat's troubling is that the reports seem to lay blame squarely on the cafeteria worker who, even though displaying poor judgement, was only doing what told to do by a misguided administration-created policy.
Lay the blame where it's due- on the administrator(s) who crafted and implemented this policy without advising the School Board what they had done.
Too many in positions of authority try to get away with too much underhanded stuff, and then have the nerve to be surprised when they're found out and called out.
- By powerhouse on 02 / 20 / 13
CommentsInteresting that a new teacher with zero years of experience was hired at a salary of $38,437.00 when there are teachers with 10 years of experience and a masters degree who make less than that. There is something very wrong with that picture.
- By Anonymous on 02 / 20 / 13
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