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School board axes new teacher bonus

When new teachers sign a contract with Halifax County Public Schools they no longer will receive the $1,000 sign on bonus as in past years.

Halifax County School Board members axed the extra incentive for new teachers Monday evening following a lengthy three-hour closed session.

The approval came in a 7-1 vote with ED-8 trustee Walter Potts opposing the motion. 

In other business during their regularly scheduled meeting Monday, Superintendent Dr. Merle Herndon and Halifax County High School Assistant Principal Michael Lewis presented the proposed pilot A/B schedule for certain AP courses. 

“We looked at how many take AP. What can we do to make it more inviting? Right now (as the program stands) the classes end in December, and the tests are not until May,” said Herndon.

Halifax County High School Assistant Principal Pedro Zamora passed out examples of class schedules in the modified A/B block schedule for upcoming juniors and seniors.

“At this time it would be a pilot program meaning it would only have a limited amount of students participating,” said Lewis.

Board members unanimously approved the pilot A/B schedule for the upcoming school year.

In other school business, Herndon presented an idea for the Halifax County Public Schools’ logo after sharing a short story of how she had the idea after someone approached her calling her the “Commander of the Comets.”

ED-3 trustee Kimberly Farson suggested Herndon’s draft be taken to the Halifax County High School drafting and design students for a way to “bring out the personality of our students.” 

ED-8 trustee Walter Potts agreed. 

“I believe this will challenge our students,” said Lewis.

Board members also unanimously approved the adoption of English and math textbooks.

At the superintendent’s request, a special school board meeting will be held July 23 at 4 p.m. at the school board office conference room to discuss personnel and central office reorganization.

In other business Monday evening, school board members took the following actions:

Authorized Executive Director for Administration Valdivia Marshall and Board Clerk Robin Mahan to sign documents in the absence of the superintendent and designated Marshall to attend meetings in the absence of the superintendent;

 Designated Chairman Karen Hopkins as delegate and Vice Chairman Kimberly Farson as alternate to attend the 2012 Virginia School Board Association Annual Convention in Williamsburg;

 Agreed school board members will attend the Virginia School Board Association board development training in Charlottesville on Aug. 9 with the school superintendent;

 Were informed Herndon will hold a principals’ summer leadership program at a later date this summer from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with all school principals and most likely central office staff participating; 

 Approved payment of bills after hearing the superintendent give the financial report;

 Withheld paying a bill for K12 virtual schools until they can receive more information from the finance department; 

 Listened to citizen comment from Dr. Percy Richardson advising school board members he is not an advocate of virtual learning when the teacher is removed from the classroom; and

 Went behind closed doors to discuss personnel and student discipline.

When board members emerged they unanimously approved expelling four students, hiring Jason H. Camp of South Boston as director of finance and authorized Marshall to send out paraprofessional contracts.

By a 7-1 vote with Potts opposing, board members approved the contract extension for Coordinator of Testing Nancy Zirkle from 10 month to 12 month, and eliminated the $1,000 sign on bonus for new teachers.