Burnsville Residents Offer Their Input On Bath County Schools Six Year Plan
Burnsville, VA – The old school in Burnsville was the site for one of the five meetings for public input on the Bath School Division’s Six Year Comprehensive Plan. School Superintendent Sue Hirsh opened that meeting on Thursday night, saying that curriculum, facilities, student population, economic impact and preparing students for college and careers were the recurring topics that came out of discussion at the previous three meetings.
Elfrieda McDaniel came to the meeting in Burnsville because she is interested in the Bath school system. McDaniel is a retired banker, who became a substitute teacher when she came to Bath County.
“Well when I first came here I started tutoring” says McDaniel. “I did not charge anybody any money. They came in, they sat down at the kitchen table and we worked.”
“Last year we had a graduation party for a little girl here in the town and one of the girls that I had tutored, who was a little feisty, she came up to me and she said You remember me?’ and I said No’. She said You were so mean to me when you taught me my algebra, but I graduated from high school and I’m gonna go places.’ That made me feel so good; I’m happy to be here.”
And what does McDaniel think is the biggest challenge facing Bath schools?
“The number of students,” says McDaniel. “But I do think that there are going to be more businesses moving into Bath County. Personally I think that the Dollar General store is just the beginning.”
One question posed at the Burnsville meeting was the possibility of including neighboring counties in a regional school. School Superintendent Sue Hirsh explained that funding from the state is based on student population. Bath has a high composite index, which means low state funding and more local funding. Neighboring counties have a low composite index, so they get much more state funding and those counties would not want to give up students because then they lose their funding base.
There were also suggestions to change the Burnsville school district boundaries to send those students to Millboro Elementary, instead of to Valley Elementary. Another suggestion was to save money in school administration, by closing the administrative office and moving it into an existing school building.
Superintendent Hirsh said that has been discussed, but since the move will cost money, they need to coordinate for the future and only move once. Another suggestion was to place kindergarten through eighth grade at the elementary schools and ninth through twelfth grades at the high school. Now, eighth graders attend the high school. School Board member Joyce Hevener also attended Thursday night’s meeting:
“Oh I thought it was a great meeting and was glad to see so much input from the people in the community, especially the parents,” says Hevener. “A lot of parents, I’m sorry, they don’t get too involved. And it’s good to see parents that know what’s going on or wanting to know what is going on.”
The last meeting in the series for public input on the Bath School Division’s Comprehensive Six Year Plan is Tuesday August 23 at 7pm at the School Administration Building in Warm Springs.