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School Board Recognizes Students, Schools

Monday’s meeting of the school board, held at Halifax County Middle School, was a night of recognition as the board recognized students and individual schools for their achievements.

The school board presented members of the Halifax County High School ACE (Academic Competition for Excellence) Team with certificates of achievement in recognition of the team’s winning the Western Valley District Tournament.

ACE Team members include Graham Bryant, Tripp Conner, Holly Duffer, Tony Landrum, Elizabeth Leggett, Dylan Lowery, Sid Patel, Julia Simon and Rebekah Slabach. Coaches are Beth Layne and Laura Meeks.

The academic team moves to regional competition, scheduled for this weekend in Woodbridge.

The board recognized the middle school students who participated in the “Digispired” program over the three years the program has been in existence. The Digispired program was funded by a grant through the National Science Foundation. A total of 26 students from Halifax began the program in the summer of 2007, and 19 students continued through July 2009, and eight students completed the optional program this past fall.

Students in the program met at the middle school two weeks each summer and then on Saturdays in the spring and fall.

Dr. Mano Talaiver, director of the Institute for Teaching Through Technology and Innovative Practices of Longwood University, presented awards to the students who participated in the program, including Vashaun Brandon, Ceciley Brinn, Zack Raney, Allen Scott, Jared Sutphin, Hannah Throckmorton and Ashley Ward.

The grant for the Digispired program has been extended another three years with funding totaling $1,049,000.

The school board recognized marketing students Dylan Lowery and Chris Thorpe who will be participating in state competition at the DECA State Leadership Conference in Norfolk the weekend of March 12-14. A.J. Moore, DECA vice-president, explained what marketing students do and the role of DECA as a
co-curricular organization for marketing students. James Popek is the advisor for the Halifax County High School DECA Chapter.

The board also recognized the five elementary schools that were named as recipients of the 2010 Board of Education Competence to Excellence Awards last month. Schools named to receive the award were Clays Mill, Cluster Springs, Meadville, Sinai and South Boston. The school division also was named as a recipient of the award.

The board presented plaques on behalf of the state board of education to the schools and school division. School Board Chairman Walter Potts accepted the award for the division, and building principals accepted the awards for the schools.

HCHS FFA Secretary Rebekah Slabach spoke to the board on the Future Farmers of America program and asked the board to recognize Feb. 20-27 as FFA Week.

Superintendent Paul Stapleton presented plaques to the members of the school board in recognition of School Board Member Appreciation Month. Stapleton and Chairman Potts presented certificates in recognition of School Board Clerk Appreciation Week to Robin Mahan, clerk, and Amy Throckmorton, deputy clerk.

In other business, the board approved Cluster Springs Elementary as the site of the October school board meeting.

The board approved its 2010-2011 budget timeline. The board will meet with the board of supervisors Thursday from 1-2 p.m. at Riverstone. The board scheduled a preliminary budget discussion meeting for March 4 in the school board conference room at 7 p.m. The regular board meeting for March will be Monday, March 8, at 7 p.m. at the Cluster Springs Early Learning Center.


A public hearing on the proposed budget is scheduled for March 17 at 7 p.m. in the public meeting room at the Mary Bethune Building. The board will hold a budget work session in the school board conference room on March 25 at 6 p.m. The board is scheduled to approve the proposed budget at 7 p.m. March 31 in the public meeting room of the Mary Bethune Building and submit the approved budget to the board of supervisors on April 1.

Chief Financial Officer Bill Covington reported to the board that expenditures are within the budget. He also said there could be changes to revenue for the current school year. He said reductions to sales tax totals and other reductions in state revenues could affect the amount of funding received from the state.
Covington said the school system would get the entire $2.3 million in stimulus funds for this year, but the school system would not get the $2.3 million promised for next year because of state shortfalls.

Principal Beverly Crowder welcomed the board to Halifax County Middle School, and members of the eighth grade chorus provided two musical selections. Choral Director Daphne Smith said she had 28 students who auditioned for district chorus, and 20 of those were selected.

Middle school FFA members presented gift bags to the school board.

Under citizen comments, Cheryl Watts spoke on budget issues. She said art, music and sports usually are the first considerations when the board has to make cuts. She said instead of cutting some of the sports, set up intramurals. She said anyone using school vehicles should be accountable.

Watts said the board should be more vigilant in the use of the public’s money. She cited an example of the school system taking out advertisements in the newspaper wishing the public a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Watts also said any reductions in staff should be out of the classroom.

Prior to adjourning, the board went into closed session. Upon emerging from closed session, the board approved advertising for sale the old Craddock Terry parking lot at the corner of South Main and Craddock Streets in Halifax. The board also approved the 2010 Local Option Retirement Plan (LORP) for those teachers intending to retire at the end of the current school year.