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School network positions: Plug not yet pulled

No letters of termination have been sent to the 15 computer lab local area network (LAN) managers employed by Halifax County Public Schools.

But when school board members voted March 30 to adopt the school budget, the elimination of 13 classified positions was included in that budget, School Superintendent Paul Stapleton confirmed.

According to Stapleton, 13 classified positions will be eliminated at the end of this school year. However, school board members have until June 30 to discuss which specific positions will be affected.

“No classified personnel have been sent letters, and any letters won’t be sent out until a specific vote takes place,” he added.

Halifax County School Board members have been fielding calls since adoption of the budget from concerned citizens in the community, teachers and principals who do not want to see “valuable positions” eliminated, school board officials said.

ED-7 trustee R. K. “Dick” Stoneman said he has been busy preparing for superintendent interviews that started this week. But in the meantime, he said he received eight calls just in one day concerning the possible elimination of the computer lab managers’ positions as recommended in the recently released efficiency study.

“I know we discussed it as part of the budget, and we hadn’t received the efficiency report yet. I have received several phone calls, but it is nothing concrete, nothing that can’t be addressed,” said Stoneman.

ED-4 trustee Kimberly Farson spent much of one recent night returning calls to concerned citizens while watching her daughter’s softball game.

“This is something people are passionate about,” said Farson.

During the March 30 budget work session, board members voted to approve the budget by a 7-1 vote with Farson opposing.

The elimination of 13 classified positions was included in the approved budget.

ED-5 trustee Roger Long said the elimination of the LAN managers was one of the 122 recommendations from the efficiency report. But after some discussion with board members, he added, “Not everyone agrees with everything the report said.

“The board still has the option to discuss it. I think it’s going to cause problems with the elementary teachers to pick up, and we can’t disband the labs,” said Long.

“We have to look at the big picture, and we have a lot of details to work out,” he added.

However, ED-8 trustee Walter Potts had a different outlook on the eliminations.

“Yes, it’s official. It was voted on and passed with the budget. They should be aware or should have received letters, but you’ll have to talk with HR (human resources) about that,” said Potts of the specific LAN manager positions.

Stapleton pointed out the approval of the final budget on March 30 approved the elimination of 13 classified positions, “but board members still have a lot to discuss, and no final decisions or letters (of termination) have been sent out,” Stapleton concluded.

School board members are expected to address this issue at the next school board meeting set for Monday, May 14, if not before in a special called meeting, Stapleton said.