Highland County School Board Facing Dire Cuts

Monterey, VA – The Highland County school board will have hard choices to make in dealing with a $250,000 shortfall in next year’s proposed budget. School Superintendent Percy Nowlin says the $250,000 represents approximately 4 to 5 teaching positions.

“If we have to cut four and a half or five teahers, we’re going to lose state accreditation. Students aren’t going to be able to graduate from an accredited high school.”

Nowlin is hoping the Highland Board of Supervisors will allow the school board to use escrow money previously set aside. The board of supervisors decided to take the escrow money and use it for matching funds for a federal stimulus grant to replace the windows in the school with more energy efficient ones.

Sue Cornelius made the point during the public comment period that it might be better to use the money now to prevent loss of accreditation rather than hold the funds for a possible future grant to improve the school building. Board member Kirk Billingsly made the point that while the escrow funds could help this year’s budget, there will be no escrow funds next year.

In other school news, the elementary school’s destination imagination team placed third in the regional competition at Western Albemarle High School. The highland elementary school team of Haley Warner, Katie Amirault, Michael Lotts and Bethany Hoover placed third in their division. 90 teams from 13 counties participated in the competition.

Mr. Wilmore reported that VMI’s mechanical engineering department has agreed to do a free energy audit of the school building next year. This study will provide information on how best to improve energy production and use at the school building.

Seniors Lori Beverage and Rachel Murray presented the school board with the itinerary for this year’s senior class trip. The seniors plan to tour Philadelphia, Hersey Park and Gettysburg on their 4 day trip. The senior class has already raised more than enough money to fund this trip.

The school board plans to meet again on March 15 and then to hold a public hearing on the school budget on March 29. Both meetings will be 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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