Highlanc County Education Association Presents Budget Recommendations To Highland School Board

Monterey, VA – At its meeting Monday evening, the Highland County School Board elected its new officers for the 2011 calendar year. Kirk Billingsley will be the chairman, Jim Blagg the vice-chairman and Karen Devore the clerk.

Highland County Education Association representatives Julia Blanchard and Jeannie Whitecotton informed the Board that there will be 3 new representatives to the HCEA board for 2011. These are Missy Douglas, Cappy Hull and Ginny Neil. They are replacing Liz Hylton, Julia Blanchard and Jeannie Whitecotton. Mrs. Whitecotton presented the Board with the HCEA salary and benefits recommendations for the Board’s upcoming school budget deliberations.

“Well we know that this is a diffcult time as we turn to budget considerations” says Whitecotton. “We rely on you, our school board to make decisions ensuring continuing quality education for our students. In view of the current economic times, we are not asking for a percentage increase, but we are asking for reinstatement to the published salary scale.”

“We need to recognize our teachers as professionals and place them on the salary scale at the step corresponding to their years of service. This reinstatement secures restoration of three steps.”

In addition to the restoration of the three step increases in the salary scale, the HCEA is requesting that the school continue to pay the employees’ monthly contribution to the Virginia Retirement System, continue to pay the employees’ monthly health insurance premiums, and to institute a longevity increase of $200 for teachers with more than 30 years of service. The HCEA also asked that the Board support the school administration as it works on a new salary scale for the support staff.

High school principal Kelly Wilmore informed the School Board that he would like the Highland Schools to pursue accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

“Bath County has its accredidation, Augusta has its accredidation; it’s a process where they will come in and evaluate your school” says Wilmore. ” I don’t think it would be very hard to us to make the accredidation with our scores and our staff and how we do things, it would be another feather in our hat. We’re trying to recruit people from outside the area, and if they live in the south, they are going to look for that accredidation.”

Mr. Wilmore also expressed his gratitude to Bath County High School for its donation of $300 to Tracy Chapman to help with her medical expenses. The $300 was the gate receipts for the Bath vs. Highland basketball game held at Bath County High School recently.

In the Superintendent’s report, Mr. Nowlin informed the Board that the Governor is looking to reduce the school budget by over $145,000. If that happens, the school will have no choice but to cut teaching positions. Mr. Nowlin recommended that people contact their state legislators Emmett Hanger and Dickie Bell and express their concerns about this latest round of budget cuts to the school system. The schools have already experienced several budget reductions over the past 3 years.

Superintendent Nowlin also reported to the Board on the recent leaks in the roof of the school building. The leaks followed work on the roof to stop stormwater from draining from the roof into the town sewer system. Mr. Nowlin has asked Jerry Rexrode to come back and fix the leaks.

The next meeting of the Highland County School Board will be Monday, February 7 at 7 PM in the High School Library.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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