Highland Schools Discuss Staffing and Bathroom Remodeling after Closed Session

The March 25 called meeting of the Highland County School Board was brief following a long closed session that was added to the agenda just prior to the meeting. 


There was no public comment and very little discussion from the board with the open budget meeting being held just prior to the called meeting. The board approved that the proposed 2024-25 school budget be sent to the Highland County Board of Supervisors for approval. 


Personnel was then discussed, which was the reason given for the added closed session. School Board Chairman Kenny Hodges reported:


“That personnel report is Keith Ulmer, substitute ag teacher effective 3/26/24, and Billie Botkin, special education instructional aide as of 3/26/24. Our current vacancies: strength and conditioning coach, elementary secretary, special education instructional aide, special education teacher for 24-25, second grade teacher for 24-25, music teacher for 24-25, and agricultural teacher for 24/25.”


There was no discussion, nor was the hiring of an elementary principal on the list even though the position is vacant. The position was first posted in the school app on Friday March 15, then removed on Monday, March 18 after school board member Sherry Sullenberger said the listing was preemptive and more discussion needed to be had on whether it could be blended with another position. This move could also change the budget for personnel going into the 2024-25 school year. 


Discussion moved to a potential bathroom remodel to merge two bathrooms in the high school building near the shop to create one handicap accessible bathroom that has hallway access. Superintendent Dr. Drew Maerz presented this as an informational item and said he was collecting bids. It was noted that the bathroom is needed to meet the needs of students already enrolled in school, as the only other handicap bathroom large enough for a teacher to provide assistance is located near the culinary classroom and inaccessible for several periods during the day.

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Brit Chambers

Brit Chambers is a resident of Highland County, Virginia and a news reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio. She loves living in a small town and relishes the outdoor adventures and community feeling that Highland has to offer. Brit has a background in journalism, marketing, and public relations and spends her free time reading good books, baking sourdough bread, and hiking with her family.

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