3-19-07

MINUTES

REGULAR MEETING OF THE ALLEGHANY COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD
March 19, 2007 

The Alleghany County School Board held its regular meeting on March 19, 2007, at 5:30 p.m. at Clifton Middle School Forum Hall.

PRESENT: R. Joe Anderson; H. Hunter Fridley; Robert A. Fridley; David W. Halsey; Randall S. Tucker, Vice Chairman; and Michael L. Whitehead, Chairman. Also present:  Robert P. Grimesey, Superintendent/Clerk and Terrie Wright, Deputy Clerk.

ABSENT:  R. Wayne Botkins

Chairman Whitehead presided and called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m.  The call to order was followed by a moment of silence and the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem led by Clifton Middle School cheerleaders. A video presentation honoring Alleghany High School graduate Shawn Dunkin was displayed during the moment of silence.  Sgt. Dunkin recently gave his life in service to our nation in the Iraq war.

(07-220) APPROVAL OF MINUTES February 19, 2007, REGULAR MEETING
             MOTION: That the Board approve the minutes of the February 19, 2007, regular meeting.
                           MOTION:  Mr. Tucker
                           SECOND:  Mr. Halsey
                           VOTE:    Unanimous

(07-221) APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF FEBRUARY 21, 2007, CALLED MEETING
             MOTION: That the Board approve the minutes of the February 21, 2007, called meeting.
                           MOTION:  Mr. R. Fridley
                           SECOND:  Mr. Tucker
                           VOTE:    Unanimous

(07-222) APPROVAL OF MINUTES February 28, 2007, CALLED MEETING
             MOTION: That the Board approve the minutes of the February 28, 2007, called meeting.
                            MOTION:  Mr. Halsey
                            SECOND:  Mr. Anderson
                            VOTE:    Unanimous

(07-223) APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF MARCH 5, 2007, WORK SESSION
             MOTION: That the Board approve the minutes of the March 5, 2007, work session..
                           MOTION:  Mr. Anderson
                           SECOND:  Mr. R. Fridley
                           VOTE:    Unanimous

(07-224) APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF MARCH 14, 2007, WORK SESSION
              MOTION: That the Board approve the minutes of the March 14, 2007, work session.
                             MOTION:  Mr. Tucker
                             SECOND:  Mr. Anderson
                             VOTE:    Unanimous

COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION

(07-225) OPENING REMARKS AND WELCOME BY BRENDA SIPLE, PRINCIPAL, CLIFTON MIDDLE SCHOOL

Mrs. Siple welcomed everyone to Clifton Middle School.  She said we would be recognizing a number of students for their successes.  She thanked the school board members for their countless hours and for their wisdom and for being role models to our students.  Mrs. Siple said she is confident that the Board will make the right decisions for our students.   She said she was proud of her staff, parents and the community and she was fortunate to be a part of them.  Mrs. Siple said she was very proud of her students for their accomplishments.

(07-226) REMARKS BY MIKE TALKINGTON, WRESTLING COACH, CLIFTON MIDDLE SCHOOL

Mr. Talkington said that the wrestling team was successful during its first ever season.  They came in third place and won five gold medals.  They participated in six dual matches and won four and lost two.  This was the first year the middle school had a wrestling team and he was very proud of the outcome.  Mr. Talkington thanked the Board for making it possible.

(07-227) Remarks by Gayle Kitchen, President, Clifton Middle School PTA

Mrs. Kitchen welcomed everyone to Clifton Middle School.  She said they were proud of the progress the PTA is making at CMS, and they continue to seek parent participation so they will be able to take advantage of the many programs the PTA has available.  Mrs. Kitchen said CMS was a great facility, but she would like to point out several issues: (1) Safety: Control access to the school during school hours by changing the vestibule to have an entrance that goes directly into the office area; (2) Interstate/school road barrier: as funds will not be available until 2010, the PTA would like the school system to sponsor a proposal for a reduced speed limit in this area; and (3) the band room is too small.  There is a wonderful band program at CMS and AHS.  The PTA feels that some effort should be placed to having an additional program for those students who are not particularly interested in band. This would free up space for students who want to excel in this area.  Mrs. Kitchen continued by saying that Alleghany High School was in deplorable condition and next year approximately 200 students will leave CMS to start their four years of high school. She said that many parents of CMS students had toured AHS and attended the architectural presentation of Covington High School (CHS) and the efficiency review of both school systems.  She said that she had also toured the new 21st century high school in Harrisonburg which was built in 2005 at a cost of $37,000,000 for a student population of 1,200 students.  Mrs. Kitchen said the merger of the county and city schools was not out of the question, but she didn’t see it happening in a timely manner.  The PTA does support many of the recommended shared services that were presented in the efficiency review, but they do not agree with the report’s recommendation to eliminate administrative staff at CMS.  The middle school age group brings many varied issues, she said, and the PTA feels the current administrative staff level is needed in order to maintain the necessary day-to-day operation of the school and the required discipline. Mrs. Kitchen went on to say that the plan for CHS presented several concerns. First, safety will be compromised as students parking across Craig Street in and around Casey Field is not acceptable.  Second, transportation of students to various locations in and around Covington for extra-curricular activities on a daily basis is not acceptable.  Third, maturity of renovated space of 25 years versus 50-year maturity for new construction seems to be a very poor use of the taxpayers’ dollars.  And fourth, if and when our area begins to grow, she said, we will have a high school in an area that would not easily permit expansion without acquisition of expensive land.  The PTA requests that the Board pursue the option of a new high school in a new location and take the necessary steps to obtain a good cost estimate based on a building design on a specific location. A 21st century high school would be a great asset to economic development for this area. Also, she said that the YMCA facility will be opening by mid September of this year which will have an Olympic size swimming pool.  She would like to see a high school swim team implemented and use this new facility.

(07-228) SPECIAL PRESENTATION BY CAST OF CMS MUSICAL THEATER PRESENTATION OF LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW

Under the direction of Robin Simpson and Kathryn Crutchfield, the accompanist, Clifton Middle School students introduced a song, ”Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child” from the play “Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” which will be presented on March 30, 31 and  April 1 at the middle school.

(07-229) SCHOOL BOARD COMMENDATIONS

Mr. Whitehead and Mary Putman, Assistant Principal, Clifton Middle School,  presented commendations to Stephen “Tate” Smith and Tyler Crosier for Demonstration of the Six Pillars of Character Counts.

Mrs. Siple, Mr. Anderson and Mr. Halsey also  presented commendations to sixth graders Kendall Ashby, Brian Bess, Sara Church, Ethan Dew, Erin, Durham, James Fridley, Tabitha Green, Stephen Hosey, Brooke Humphries, Carlie Lawrence, Emilee Loope, Will Mason, Tommy Morgan, Evan Nicely, Zach Nicely, Dakota Scott, Eric Sites, Ethan Smith, Craig Walton, and Spencer Wilhelm; seventh graders Alison Adkins, Esther Allman, Erin Arrington, Emily Bennett, Stephen Bennett, Dillon Bess and Logan Bryant; eighth graders Rachele Casstevens, Megan Cole, Brooke Downer, Daniel Humphreys, Lucas Kirby, Jessah Livesay, Jacob Lockhart, Tabatha Mace, Brittany Mays, James Moore, Alissa Morgan, Emili Morgan, Isaac Nicely, Katelyn Osborne, Grace Parker, Travis Tyler and Erick Williams.  These students were recognized for earning a 600 score on one or more of their SOL tests.

Commendations were also presented to the Clifton Middle School boys’ basketball team for an undefeated 19-0 season: Dillon Bess, Seth Bradley, Rob Carpenter, Grant Cogar, Tyler Crosier, Hunter Deisher, Jerrod Groves, Lucas Kirby, Maurice Nelson, Dakota Nicely, Ashby Taylor, Tyler Terry, Mark Tembo, Seth Thompson, and Chris Tucker.  Commendations were also presented to the Middle School girls’ basketball team for an undefeated 13-0 season: Esther Allman, Kendall Ashby, Allisha Ayers, Taylor Broughfman, Chelsie Cahoon, Megan Cole, Chelcy Evans, Hollie Fisher, Mindy Gillespie, Emilee Loope, Eli McCutchen, Alissa Morgan, Grace Parker, Amber Sims, Kara Smith, Rebecca Vaughan and Miranda Gillespie.

(07-230)   SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER QUESTIONS AND REPORTS

Mr. H. Fridley said this was the fun part of the meeting hearing about the students’ successes.   All he could say was “WOW.”  He said it was wonderful to see the auditorium filled to capacity.  He thanked Mrs. Siple for her hospitality and said that the Board enjoyed visiting the different schools and being able to meet the parents and students.  He said we need to teach the boys to smile a little more when they received their commendations, as for the girls, they were always giggling.  Mr. Fridley said he was looking forward to the Clifton Middle School musical.

Mr. Halsey thanked Mrs. Siple and congratulated all the students for their achievements.  He said each meeting had more and more SOL perfect scores which said a lot for the teachers and parents.

Mr.Tucker thanked Mrs. Siple and congratulated the students for earning a perfect 600 on the various SOL tests.  He said “we were doing something right.”  He congratulated the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams for going undefeated and said this was wonderful going along with their academics.  Mr. Tucker added that the Character Counts program is very important to him.

Mr. Anderson thanked Mrs. Siple and said that it was a pleasure to come to the school and see what an outstanding job they are doing at CMS.  He said the negative publicity about public schools on television and in the newspapers does not apply to our Alleghany County students.

Mr. R. Fridley thanked Mrs. Siple for her leadership.  He said some people have looked at the Efficiency Report and he encouraged others to look it over.  He expressed concern that our community will stay stagnant if we do not make some changes.  Mr. Fridley continued by saying that the Board of Supervisors and the community had a lot of decisions to make.  “Don’t lose focus,” he said.  He congratulated the students for receiving their commendations.  He said the school board is studying all of the options on whether to build or merge the schools. Mr. Fridley said the Board hasn’t decided on anything and that Board members plan to stay in communication with each other.

Mr. Whitehead asked everyone to keep Shawn Dunkin’s family in their prayers.  He thanked Mrs. Siple and said it was always a pleasure to come to CMS.  Mr. Whitehead said he was on the school board when the decision was made to build the elementary/middle school and that had proved to be the right thing to do. He recognized the students for their achievement of a 600 score on the SOL tests, and the girls and boys for their undefeated basketball seasons.  He thanked all for being in attendance.

Public Hearing: Citizen’s response to Covington High School architectural study, school efficiency reviews and input on school board consideration of merger of services and/or operations with Covington City Schools.

Mr. Whitehead started the hearing by saying the public hearing is part of the school board’s evaluation of the options.  He noted that school board members were present to listen and not to debate.

Lee Ann Bowling-Angle, Alleghany High School PTSA president-elect, said she had read both the efficiency study and the CHS architectural study.  With or without consolidation, she supports the construction of a new building. She encouraged the Board to decide whether or not it was going to merge with Covington and then to move on.  She encouraged the Board to acquire property.  She reminded the Board that the longer it puts off a decision the more the project will cost.

James Ballou, resident of Clifton Forge, thanked the School Board for its oversight of the schools.  He said he has a daughter in the schools and was thankful for the opportunities she has in academics and sports, and thanked all that made it possible.  He thanked the School Board for its efforts to promote governmental and school consolidation with Covington, but it now appears that that is not going to happen.  He added that school merger without governmental consolidation would not work, so he felt the Alleghany County School Board “was off the hook.”  He said the inability to consolidate the governments brings the School Board back to its original issue, and that is the need to address the high school facility problem.  He said renovating an old school and patching it up to last approximately 25 years might be attractive, but it makes no sense.  He said the county needs to go its own way and build its own high school.  If Covington later decides to consolidate governments, then the county should remain open to that option, he said.  “Until that time,” he concluded, “we should do our own thing.”

Bob Bennett identified himself as a concerned citizen and stated that the efficiency study recommended that the ad hoc committee be re-established. He encouraged the School Board to promote the re-establishment of the committee and said it should be composed of two members each from both school boards and both government bodies.  He provided numerous details about the needs of several school facilities in Covington City.  He also expressed concern about the possible construction of a new high school due to the costs.

Sharon Chiang said she and her husband are new to the area and both work for the school system.  She said they have been impressed with the positive behavior of students and the friendliness of the people.  She expressed her opposition to renovating Covington High School to serve as a consolidated high school because “(y)ou don’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”  She added that she was shocked to learn that Alleghany High School had been flooded in the past and that nothing had been done about the situation.

Bill Davidson identified himself as a concerned citizen and talked about all the businesses and industries that have come and gone over the years in Clifton Forge, Alleghany County and City of Covington. He said that we need to merge the two school systems.  He also criticized the “Public-Private Education Act” (PPEA) as a means to build a new school and said it would mean that we would not end up owning anything.

Tonya Holley, is a parent of one child at Boiling Spring Elementary and another child at the middle school.  She said she also belongs to both PTAs. She said she was in full support of building a new high school and not for merging with Covington.  She said a consolidated high school in Covington would result in several problems, including the busing students and equipment to athletic facilities around the city.

Angela Isbell, a teacher at Callaghan Elementary, has one child attending Callaghan and another child attending the middle school.  She said she was a student at Alleghany High School during the flood of 1985, and she said it was devastating.  Mrs. Isbell said she was speaking on behalf of the faculty and staff at Callaghan.  She said a survey was sent to every Callaghan staff member as to their opinion on the question of school merger with Covington City Schools, and the option for a high school.  Of those surveyed, 60% responded.  She said that the majority of the staff would like to see a merger between the two schools, but would like a new high school built. Mrs. Isbell said one respondent put it, “with the declining population and the closing of businesses, a new, more modern school may draw business as well as increase the population.”

Amy Massey, on behalf of the Mountain View Elementary School PTO, said that after careful consideration of the current climate in our local governments and school boards, the Mountain View Elementary School PTO feels that Covington City is moving ahead with their plans to construct a new elementary/middle school for their students.  She added that it is in our best interest to purchase land immediately, with the intention of constructing a new Alleghany High School that is located in the County.   She said we need to move now, as there are only disadvantages to waiting.  Others may hesitate, but we should not, she concluded.

Jennifer Roberts, a junior at Alleghany High School, said she feels a new school should be built with a Career and Technical wing which includes a Family and Consumer Science (FACS) department.  The current FACS department has 113 students or 14% of this year’s school population.  The program emphasizes the work of the family and helps students to realize the important role that parents and families serve as the first and most influential teachers in helping their children prepare early for success in school. Ms. Roberts went on to say that the Alleghany County recognizes the need for increasing tourism spending here in the Highlands, therefore, an Introduction to Hospitality and Tourism class is taught through the FACS Department which uses the computers to explore career opportunities.  Ms. Roberts said we should increase Career and Technology offerings in a new building. She said she has a younger brother in the 4th grade and she would love for him to be able to attend a new high school.

Jeannie Thompson, on behalf of the Sharon PTO and staff, said renovating Covington High School is not in the best interest of our students.  She noted that Covington High School is land locked and suffers from extreme limitations for expansion.  She added that the broader community is land rich and offers many options to Covington High School (CHS).  She said the proposed consolidated CHS would eliminate the community recreational benefits of Burton Field and it would result in dispersed athletic facilities. She said increasing travel time would be a disadvantage in terms of lost time, increased travel expense for parents and the school system, and potential increased liability due to lack of parent and coach supervision.  She added that locating a consolidated high school in Covington would take business away from Clifton Forge, Iron Gate and the eastern part of Alleghany County.  Mrs. Thompson also said that renovating CHS does not save significant money when compared to building a new school. She encouraged the School Board to build a new high school in a central location in the county that will accommodate all of our area students. She reminded Board members that potential residents look at educational facilities when deciding where to relocate.  “We do not want to discourage growth in our county because our schools cannot accommodate the future needs of our children,” she said. She encouraged all residents to contact their School Board representative and the supervisor for their area to let them know how they feel about these important issues.

Karman Tucker, on behalf of the Falling Spring PTA, said it was time to get beyond the emotions and look at what is best for the children and the community overall. She said everyone knows that Jeter-Watson and Edgemont need to be replaced, but the county needs a new high school.  She encouraged the Board to purchase land, get a cost and a plan on how we can pay for it.  She said the School Board needs to decide quickly and set a time table as to whether to merge or consolidate governments.  She doesn’t see it happening in the near future.  The longer we wait, she concluded, the more it will cost.

Robert Tucker, vice president of Alleghany High School’s PTSA, said regardless of the outcome of discussions about school merger, a new high school should be built.  He noted that many students had received commendations during the meeting and concluded, “They have given us 100%.  We owe them as much in return.”

BUDGET AND FINANCE

(07-231) Payment of bills
             MOTION:  That the Board approve the payment of the bills as presented.
                             MOTION: Mr. R. Fridley
                             SECOND: Mr. Anderson
                             VOTE: Unanimous

(07-232) Budget report

                Dr. Grimesey reported the following fund balances:

1

School Operating Fund

$1,350,725.49

2

School Textbook Fund

$329,269.34

3

Alleghany Foundation Nursing Grant

$217,682.81

4

Governor’s School

$31,275.85

5

Construction

$0.00

6

Scholarship

$77,427.38

7

Alleghany Foundation School Efficiency Study Grant

$35,750.00

8

Alleghany Foundation Falling Spring Walking Track

$0.00

9

Alleghany Foundation Teacher Recruitment Grant

$44,782.03

Grand Total

$2,086,912.90

(07-233) Cafeteria Report

Keven Rice, Director of Administrative Services, reported that the cafeteria fund net cash balance at the end of February was   $139,796.62.  This balance represents an improvement of $83,772.91 over prior year due to managerial focus and improved participation rates.

SUPERINTENDENT’S REPORTS & RECOMMENDATIONS

(07-234) Calendar Information

Dr. Grimesey reminded the Board members of the following meeting dates: Tuesday, March 27 at 7:00 p.m. – Joint work session with Board of Supervisors at County Governmental Complex, 2007-08 school board budget; Wednesday, March 28 at 7:00 p.m. – Joint work session with Board of Supervisors at School Board Office Complex, discussion of Covington High School architectural study, efficiency review, and status of school merger considerations; and Monday, April 2 at 6:00 p.m. – Regularly scheduled meeting at Falling Spring Elementary School.

(07-235) Proposed 2007-08 combined school division budget      ATTACHMENT I                                        

Dr. Grimesey provided a summary of the 2007-08 Proposed Budget based on the General Assembly’s adopted amendments.  He stated that this budget was based on an ADM of 2890 with a composite rate index of .2423.  He reported that there would be no new dollars requested from the Board of Supervisors.  The proposed total budget is anticipated to be $30,248,635, and the new state dollars are anticipated to be $653,707. 
              MOTION:  That the Board Approve the 2007-08 Combined School Division Budget
                              MOTION: Mr. Tucker
                              SECOND: Mr. H. Fridley
                              ROLL CALL VOTE:      Mr. Anderson –   Yes         Mr. Halsey - Yes
                                                                Mr. Botkins – Absent         Mr.Tucker - Yes
                                                                Mr. H. Fridley –    Yes        Mr. Whitehead – Yes
                                                                Mr. R. Fridley –    Yes

(07-236) Administration of School Resource Officer Survey

Fred Vaughan, Director of Student Services, requested that the Board approve the 2006-07 School Resource Officer (SRO) Survey.  The survey will be given during the spring of 2007 to students in grades 8 and 10 as well as staff members at Clifton Middle School
and Alleghany High School.  The survey is designed to measure the effectiveness of the division’s SRO program.
             MOTION: That the Board approve the administration of the School Resource Officer Survey
                            MOTION:  Mr.  R. Fridley
                            SECOND:  Mr. Halsey
                            VOTE:  Unanimous

(07-237) Capital Improvement Update       ATTACHMENT II

Mr. Rice reviewed the Work Request Completion Report for February.  He then brought the board up-to-date on current projects:

►Creation of a bus parking area at Sharon Elementary School is in process.  This will allow for the creation of approximately 20 more passenger vehicle parking spaces.  It will also eliminate the unsightly ditch along the entrance road.  The project will
cost approximately $29,000 less than originally estimated in January, 2006.

►The upgrade to the intercom system at Alleghany High School is in process.

►Mr. Rice presented a comparison of high school options for Alleghany County Public Schools.  This was initially presented
during a School Board work session.

Field Trip Requests

(07-238) 4 AHS Yearbook Staff students to Josten’s Publishing training in New York City, NY, March 13-17, 2007
            MOTION:  That the Board approve 4 AHS Yearbook Staff students to attend the Josten’s Publishing training in
                            New York City,NY, March 13-17, 2007.
                            MOTION:  Mr. H. Fridley
                            SECOND:  Mr. Tucker
                            VOTE:  Unanimous
(07-239) 42 CMS peer helpers and SCA representatives to New York City NY, June 7-9, 2007
             MOTION:  That the Board approve 42 CMS peer helpers and SCA representatives to
New York City, NY, June 7-9, 2007.
                             MOTION:  Mr. R. Fridley
                             SECOND:  Mr. H. Fridley
                             VOTE:  Unanimous

(07-240) Communications

The School Board received summary notes from the following meeting:

Teacher Advisory Committee to the Superintendent

CLOSED SESSION

(07-241) CODE OF VIRGINIA: PERSONNEL 2.2-3711.A.1; PUPIL PERSONNEL 2.2-3711.A.2, and REAL PROPERTY 2.2-
             2711.A.3              
             MOTION:  That the School Board enter closed session to discuss Personnel, Pupil Personnel, and Real
                             Property asauthorized by the Code of
Virginia Sections 2.2-3711A.1, 2.2-3711.A.2, and 2.2-3711.A.3
                             MOTION:   Mr. H. Fridley
                             SECOND:   Mr. Tucker
                             VOTE:  Unanimous
                             TIME:  8:10 p.m.

              MOTION:  That the School Board return to open session from closed session.
                              MOTION:   Mr. Tucker
                              SECOND:   Mr. Halsey
                              VOTE:   Unanimous
                              TIME: 10:10 p.m

CERTIFICATION OF EXECUTIVE SESSION

The Chairman requests a motion to certify that to the best of each member’s knowledge:

  1. Only public business matters lawfully exempted from opening meeting requirements by Virginia law were discussed in the closed meeting to which this certification applies; and
  1. Only such public business matters as were identified in the motion convening the closed meeting were heard, discussed or considered by the School Board.

                                  MOTION:   Mr. H. Fridley
                                  SECOND:   Mr. R. Fridley
                                  ROLL CALL VOTE:             Mr. Anderson –   Yes          Mr. Halsey - Yes
                                                                           Mr. Botkins – Absent          Mr.Tucker - Yes
                                                                           Mr. H. Fridley –    Yes         Mr. Whitehead – Yes
                                                                           Mr. R. Fridley --Yes                                                                         

                                                               

________________________________________                         _______________________________________

       Chairman, Alleghany County School Board                                                          Clerk

PERSONNEL        ATTACHMENT III

(07-242) PERSONNEL                                                                                                                                                           
            MOTION: That the Board approve the personnel recommendations as presented by the Superintendent.
                           MOTION:  Mr. Tucker
                           SECOND:  Mr. R. Fridley
                           VOTE:   Unanimous

(07-243) DISPOSITION OF SUPERINTENDENT’S RECOMMENDATION RELATED TO PUPIL PERSONNEL CASE #s 07-06.
             07-13 and 07-14.
             MOTION: That the Board approve the disposition of pupil personnel case #s 07-06, 07-13 and 07-14. as recommended by
                            the Superintendent.
                            MOTION:  Mr. H. Fridley
                            SECOND:  Mr. Tucker
                            VOTE:   Unanimous

ADJOURNMENT

            MOTION:  That the March 19, 2007, meeting of the Alleghany County School Board be adjourned.
                            MOTION:  Mr. R. Fridley
                            SECOND:  Mr. Anderson
                            VOTE:   Unanimous
                            TIME:     10:12 p.m.