|Brush: We do have problems that really need to be addressed|
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
By STACEY HAIRSTON - Staff Writer
The Franklin County School Board is asking the board of supervisors for an additional $3 million in county funds for the 2013-14 school budget.
During a public hearing last week, the school board presented a budget proposal asking for $2.5 million in additional county funds.
But Monday night, board members added another $475,336 to that $2.5 million figure to include additional staff and upgrades in technology, according to School Board Chairman Ed Jamison.
"These (additional) funds allow us to take a step forward on some the issues that are critical," said Gills Creek District member Bill Brush. "We do have problems that really need to be addressed."
Included in the new figure is $50,000 to design an alternative education center and $55,716 for a guidance counselor for an alternative education program.
"We have a graduation rate problem that is not getting better. It is getting worse," Brush said. "We don't compare well to the other districts. It's something we need to address and fix."
"The middle and high schools are overcrowded," said Snow Creek District member G.B. Washburn. "This has been the biggest reason why we have not pushed alternative education the way we should, and it's become an important enough issue that we are going to have to push this outside of the middle and high school complexes to make it happen."
Also included in the new $3 million figure is a possible $23,000 tuition increase for the Roanoke Valley Governor's School, two elementary school guidance counselors ($111,432) and one behavior specialist ($69,888) for the autism program.
Technology upgrades, including electronic textbooks for students, an email archiving system and funding for curriculum at the CEED center, would total $165,840.
"I feel that if we need things, we have to ask for them and include them in the budget," said at-large member William Helm.
In addition to the budget figure, the school board will ask supervisors to help find capital funds for planning and development for a new Career and Technical center at Franklin County High School ($350,000) and safety upgrades and cameras in county school buildings ($628,612).
"The cameras would be the best way to help keep our schools safe," said Dr. Mark Church, school superintendent.
The school board will also ask supervisors for $1.15 million to replace 12 school buses.