The Mecklenburg County School Board met on Tuesday, January 26 for their regular monthly meeting. Board members in attendance were Glenn Edwards, Ricky Allgood, Lindell Palmer, Chairman Gavin Honeycutt, Vice Chairman Dora Garner, Wanda Bailey, Gloria Smith, and Brent Richey.

            Mrs. Joan Hite presented the winners of the Virginia Cooperative Extension Tech Changemaker Video Design Game Contest as well as the District Spelling Bee winners. Wyatt Garner was the winner of the contest and will be representing Mecklenburg County in the state competition in Richmond. Dr. Jeff Scales presented the Bluestone High School and Park View High School Seniors of the Month. Chairman Gavin Honeycutt and Vice Chairman Dora Garner took a moment to recognize the Principals from each school in Mecklenburg County in honor of Virginia Principal Appreciation Week.

            Mrs. Joan Hite gave a presentation of the Fall 2019 SOL testing data. The percentage pass rate details are available on the Mecklenburg County Schools website. Mr. Glenn Edwards asked a question about Park View Middle School testing in a Math/Algebra 1 course that was not offered at Bluestone Middle School. Dr. Paige Lacks, Principal at Bluestone Middle School, responded, “We did not offer that set up at [Bluestone Middle] this year because we do not have a teacher in our school who is certified to teach geometry. We are looking at measures though to be able to offer this to our students next year. It’s going to involve some creative scheduling with the High School and we’re going to have to get together with them to work something out.”

            The School Board heard from Mr. Frank Dubec with Sun Tribe Solar. He presented the school with information and a proposal for renewable energy use at the new middle and high school facility as well as elementary school facilities.

            A new bond request for the new middle/high school facility that has been secured by the Mecklenburg County Board of Supervisors. They will have to take the bond request to the public at the next meeting but will have to have a vote from the School Board in order to move forward. A representative from Davenport was there to explain the details of the bond request. “The reason why you have a resolution in front of you this evening is so you can ask the county board to issue their obligation through the VPSA spring pool. Additional you’re also approving to make application to the VPSA spring pool program. That application is due on February 24 and you are getting ahead of that so that everything falls into place to stay on track and reserve your place in the queue if you choose to participate in the spring pool.” To view the full resolution please visit the Mecklenburg County Schools website. Mr. Nichols notified that information  had been provided from the construction company on the new school facility and they are ready for the notice to proceed from the School Board. The date of commencement is January 27 and the projected finish date is April 20, 2022.

            Mr. Honeycutt addressed the Mecklenburg County School Board Norms, which is basically a code of conduct for School Board members. Gloria Smith talked about a discussion that members had a recent meeting about things that would help in the future. “We talked about the ethical code of conduct for board members, how we would place items on the agenda, how to respond to staff or community complaints at board meetings. We talked our relationship with a board and our relationship with the school system. We’re working to be an improved board that works together to benefit our school system. The communication is very important, especially in this day and time.” Mr. Ricky Allgood added that he would like to know that he can disagree with a fellow board member and still maintain a friendship outside of their duties. He also pointed out that he feels that communication between the board members has not always been productive and that he would like to see that improved. Mr. Glenn Edwards said, “I agree with about 90% of this. It’s the other 10 that I don’t agree with. The reason I don’t is, I’ve been on the board for 16 years and I do my homework. What bothers me is when we take tax payer money and eight or nine people go and stay a week at a conference and stay at motels and play golf and marathons and free dinners. I just think that money could be better used for education for the children and benefit the professional development of teachers and staff. That’s just my feeling.” He continued, “Also in the School Board Norms one of the last things you have is violations 1,2,3 , and 4 and I’d like to know what happens if you get four violations. What is this school board going to do? I want to know because I talked to the clerk at the circuit court and they don’t see anything that has any meat to it. I just want to know where you’re going with it and I want to know ahead of time if I need to prepare myself.” Mr. Honeycutt responded “The copy that you got today does not have the violations on it. That is something that I would like to be discussed by us as a board in our work session.” Mr. Edwards pointed out that the school system has trouble controlling the kids in the schools and now the focus will be to discipline board members and that he has sat on the board for sixteen years and does not want to be treated like a kid in his fifth term as a member. Mr. Honeycutt pointed out that Mecklenburg County is one of two boards in Virginia that does not have a set of board norms and that he would like to see them put into place so that they conduct themselves as adults when dealing with each other and the public. Mrs. Dora Garner added that her and Mr. Honeycutt have had their differences in the past but that it is more important to move forward together as one.

            During public input, substitute bus driver for the county, Mr. Fuller. “I know y’all are tired of seeing me here but I believe in being treated right. I asked 3 months ago why the sub bus drivers didn’t get the raise they were promised. I still have not gotten and answer. All I get is ‘we’re working on next years budget.’ That’s not what was told to me. I still haven’t gotten an answer. The second thing is why do regular driver’s get more pay than the sub drivers?”

            During the action items part of the meeting agenda the board voted to approve meeting minutes, bills, and personnel agenda as presented. Two Park View field trips were approved as well as a field location change to the new school facility and the bond resolution from the Board of Supervisors. The Board Norms were approved even though the Board will meet in a work session to discuss the violations portion of the documents.

            After Board remarks the meeting was adjourned. The next school board meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 18 at the Public School office in Boydton.