By Leigh Morris
For the Star-Gazette
Meeting in special session on August. 1, the Virginia School Board acted to further bolster the district’s teaching corps by hiring new teachers and aides.
Joining the staff for the 2013/14 academic year will be fourth grade teacher Morgan Rufty of Decatur, first grade teacher Lauren Schuster, and biological science teacher Jessica Throop of Bloomington. Throop will teach both junior and senior high school students.
As a result of the state’s decision to renew Virginia’s pre-kindergarten grant in the amount of $104,183, pre-kindergarten parent coordinator Brittany Westlake was rehired. Also joining the staff will be pre-kindergarten aide Theresa Davis.
The board engaged Mickie Kendrick as an individual student aide for a special needs student pending the child’s enrollment.
In other action, the board approved a modest nickel across the board price hike for school lunches. Lunches for kindergarten through fifth grade will go from $1.50 to $1.55, while the lunch price for students in sixth through 12th grade will bump up from $2.10 to $2.15. Lunch prices for adults will rise from $2.60 to $2.65.
In approving the 2013/14 Student Handbook, the board and Superintendent Brent O’Daniell expressed appreciation to Assistant Principal Aaron Llewellyn. The educator led the updating work with the assistance of other staff.
On the school construction front, the board approved a change to use concrete in the area between the school and the new classrooms at a cost of $57,284. This action will replace the oil and chip surface. Half of the project is scheduled to be completed before the start of school with the balance to be finished in September.
Board members also discussed the railing to be placed on the new retention wall. The railing is needed to assure the safety of students, staff and visitors. At present, cost is estimated to be in excess of $32,000 for a painted galvanized painted railing. However, the board will consider stainless steel and aluminum alternatives at a future session.
In addition, O’Daniell will obtain cost estimates for the construction of a retaining wall at the site of the new elementary school playground. It is anticipated such a wall would increase the size of the playground by about one-third.