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Halifax County trustees cut school calendar by two days, adjust salaries

SoVaNow.com / April 29, 2013
During a lengthy Wednesday night session, the Halifax County School Board voted to change the school calendar to make Friday, May 31 the last day of school for students.

The calendar originally called for the last day of school to come on Tuesday, June 4, but with the schools having completed the mandated number of instructional hours, trustees approved a quicker end to the school year. The change will save some $28,000 in transportation costs.

By split margins, trustees also voted to approve six administrative salary increases and several other adjustments in employee pay. The changes will add $35,826 to the payroll.

According to School Superintendent Dr. Merle Herndon, raises were approved for five school principals, based on their previous years of experience and the size of their schools.

Receiving increases will be HCHS associate principal Michael Lewis, Halifax County Middle School principal Faye Bruce, South Boston Elementary principal Sue Bagbey, Clays Mill principal Sherrie Cowan and Sydnor Jennings principal David Duffer. The other raise approved in administration was for transportation coordinator Earl Womack.

Approval of the raises came on 5-3 votes following a five-hour closed session. ED-2 trustee Karen Hopkins, ED-4 trustee Cheryl Terry and ED-8 trustee Walter Potts opposed the motion.

Potts moved to have all employees placed at their current rate of pay, which would eliminate cuts for 12-month employees who were being moved to 10-month contracts. His motion failed on a 6-2 vote. Board chairman Kim Farson was the only other trustee to vote for the measure.

The School Board also approved pay raises for six of the system’s speech therapists ,who serve in a critical needs area. They are Stacey Zyla, Denise Morris, Melissa Stewart, Sue Bamburg, Scarlet Moore and Connie Slagle.

Salary adjustments were approved for seven people due to a change in position or assignment, including Tammy Fisher, Donna Henderson, Deborah Crenshaw, Joyce Townes, Erlene Sydnor, Robin Mahan and George Crews.

Salary adjustments were also approved on a 5-3 vote for Floyd Fields and Gregory Donner, whose prior pay reflected a teaching experience shortage. Opposing the adjustments were Hopkins, Terry and Potts.

Trustees discussed the possible closure of the Cluster Springs Early Learning Center and moving of the GED and Alternate Education classes at the Bethune Center. However, they took no action and will wait until their May 13 meeting to decide on those budgetary items. The trustees also are expected to decide whether to extend the proposed two percent increase to all division employees for the coming year.

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