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Bonuses on way to Halifax County school workers

Full-time and part-time school employees will be getting bonuses as soon as the Halifax County Board of Supervisors signs off on the deal and fronts the one-time allocation to be reimbursed with federal jobs stimulus funding.

School board members voted 7-0 to give the one-time employee bonus during last Thursday night’s school board meeting held at Cluster Springs Elementary School.

Acting on a recommendation from Superintendent Paul Stapleton, school board members unanimously approved the expenditure of the federal jobs stimulus funds to provide one-time employee bonuses of $1,300 for 1,117 full-time

employees and $650 for 18 part-time employees.

The superintendent, deputy superintendent, assistant superintendent for instruction and the chief financial officer will be excluded from the bonus payment, according to the approved motion.

Stapleton also noted school board members will not receive bonus payments.

ED-3 school board representative Kim Farson who was unable to attend the meeting due to a death in the family sent word she favored giving the bonuses to school employees, Chairman Walter Potts said.

At the supervisors’ November meeting, the school board will ask the board to serve as the agent providing the funding for the bonuses so the money may be distributed to school employees with the county being reimbursed by the federal stimulus funding.

In other business at Thursday’s meeting, school board members voted to adopt the 2011-2015 strategic plan for the Halifax County School System. The strategic plan contains a vision, mission statement, motto, goals, objectives and strategies for the school system.

Also during the meeting Thursday evening, Halifax County High School Principal Albert Randolph recognized seven outstanding students for earning AP Scholar Awards. These awards were given to students for their achievement on AP exams.

Students recognized were Graham K. Bryant, Fallon Farmer, Daniesha Carr, Travis Collier, Elizabeth Leggett, Luke Ligon and Julia Simon.

Other recognitions were given to outstanding Future Farmers of America (FFA) students by FFA advisor Trina Vaughan including Joseph Carrington, Reba Saunders, J.T. Glass, Eric Glass and Cary Carrington for their achievements in contests and awards.

School board members recognized Hank Bruining of Dollar General for the donation of books to students throughout the elementary schools.

Director of Academies Dr. Melanie Stanley presented a certificate of recognition related to Virginia Career Week. The week of Oct. 10-16 has been declared Virginia Career Week in the commonwealth.
In other business, school board members adopted a resolution recognizing Dr. Charles Devine III for serving as the Southside Health District’s Medical Director and for serving the citizens of Halifax County for many years.

In other action Thursday, Superintendent Stapleton recognized four outstanding school board members for receiving awards from the Virginia School Board Association (VSBA) including ED-5 representative Dr. Roger Long, ED-8 representative Walter Potts, ED-6 representative Fay Long and ED-4 representative Joe Gasperini.

Under new business, Deputy Superintendent Larry Clark told school board members due to a larger than expected number of special education students enrolled this year two early childhood special education classes are needed.

“One class will be located at Clays Mill and the other will be at Scottsburg,” Clark said.

He explained each class can only have a maximum of eight students.

Clark noted a third class also may be located at Sinai.

A paraprofessional will be in each class, and if a student’s IEP requires additional help, extra people will be in place in the classrooms, he added.

The board approved adding the classes in a 7-0 vote.

School board members also supported a resolution asking state and federal legislators to reduce unfunded mandates for public education in Virginia.

In other action Thursday night:

• Clark reported the Virginia High School League (VHSL) executive committee has banned the use of energy drinks on the field by athletes, and VHSL now requires coaches to take an online concussion course, an information course that must be taken before the first practice.

• School board members heard comments from Bonnie Bowen on behalf of the Halifax Education Association asking the board to give bonuses to school employees.

• Cluster Springs Elementary School (CSES) Principal Lisa Long explained CSES students are writing a book and the intent is for the book to be released on April 1.

• School board members and meeting attendees were treated to a variety of songs by CSES fourth graders.
• Chief Financial Officer Bill Covington presented the financial report and payment of bills to the school board for approval. The board approved both items.