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School board meets to clear up legal issues

In an effort to stay legal and not bind future school boards, Halifax County School Board members made changes to the Local Option Retirement Plan Thursday afternoon during a special called meeting with school board attorney Craig Woods of Charlottesville.

Trustees went behind closed doors to consult with the attorney, discuss personnel salaries and get legal advice.

With all members present at the special called meeting except Chairman Karen Hopkins, Woods reviewed the Local Option Retirement Plan for employees and addressed his concerns.

“There are a couple of concerns that I have expressed to individual board members in the past, and I’ll bring to the full board’s attention with the recommendation that we correct them,” said Woods.

The retirement plan as currently worded contains language that binds future boards for years to come.

Since a school board can only budget one year at a time, Woods recommended removing the binding language, by deleting Section II A that reads, “A change in the percentage will not affect participants already in the program” and Section VI A that reads, “Participants already in the program will not be affected by the amendment or termination of the program.”

Woods assured board members that removing these sentences will not affect anyone currently participating in the program.

Board members unanimously approved Woods’ two selected recommendations.

In other business, Thursday afternoon board members unanimously passed a resolution publicly thanking and commending Paul Stapleton for his “diligence and commitment” in fulfilling his four-year contract which ended June 30. 

The resolution stated the many positive efforts Stapleton made during his eight years of service and the numerous recognitions brought to Halifax County Public Schools for outstanding accomplishments in its programs.

The resolution also called attention to the many opportunities Stapleton provided for the students of Halifax County.

“The Halifax County School Board sincerely wishes Paul Stapleton the very best health and success in his future professional endeavors and personal and family relationships,” the resolution stated.

After being presented the commendation, Stapleton said, “Thank you very much…it has been a pleasure working with you. I wish for the board the very best and for the new superintendent, Dr. Merle Herndon, I wish her the best. I think as a group you have to work together and keep pushing the thing that is important and that is the needs of our children first, and make sure you take care of the children. It has been a pleasure working with you, and I wish you the best,” concluded Stapleton.