Highland School Board Anticipates Tough Budget Negotiations This Year
Monterey, Va – The budget will be a top priority for the Highland County School Board over the next several weeks. At last week’s School Board meeting, Superintendent, Dr. Will Crawford set out some of the difficulties facing Board Members this year.
“I’ve spent a lot of time this month working on the budget,” says Dr. Crawford. “You’re going to see as you look at the budget that VRS [Virginia Retirement System] and health care costs and some of the other rising fixed costs, we’re not going to be able to do anything about, but is going to create a severe challenge for us. There’s going to be some proposed reorganization and some staff adjustments over the next couple of months.”
“Over the next couple of weeks we’ll work this budget out. I do think that before long we’ll have a budget that’s ready to present to the Board of Supervisors that’s a fair assessment of the needs of Highland County, so I’m looking forward to that.”
Representing the Highland County Education Association, Margie Swanger addressed the Board regarding the budget.
“The Highland County Education Association would like to thank you for your work on the budget for 2012-2013,” says Swanger. “Our full request for the 2012 budget is as follows: restore teachers and staff to the correct step on the salary scale with no RIF’s [Reductions In Force] to make it happen, provide a longevity increase of $200.00 for teachers with over 30 years of service, and a 2 percent raise for anyone not on staff, pay monthly health insurance premiums for employees, [and] pay monthly contributions to VSRS for employees. Thank you for your consideration of this request and your continued support of faculty, staff and students.”
In other business, Superintendent Crawford presented Principal Teresa Blum with an award for the Elementary School from the Virginia State Board of Education.
“It’s presented to Highland County High School, congratulations Teresa,” he says, “and it reads whereas the Board of Education established the Virginia Index of Performance to provide incentives and recognition for public schools and school division that exceeds the minimum requirements for learning and achievement in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Now therefore, be it resolved that the Board of Education recognizes the achievement of these objectives by awarding this 2012 Board of Education competence to excellence award.”
Dr. Crawford also noted that citizens in the housing area near the school submitted a petition to him regarding the lights on the north side of the school. Several new lights have been installed along the walkway over the past several months.
Apparently there have been several instances when those lights were on well after dark causing light to shine into windows of nearby houses. Dr. Crawford noted that even though the lights are on school property, they are operated by the County, so he passed the petition onto County Administrator Roberta Lambert. The timer on the lights has since been adjusted to turn the lights off earlier.
The School Board will hold its budget public hearing on Tuesday, March 27 at 7 pm in the High School library. The next regular meeting of the Highland County School Board will be Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 7 pm in the High School library.