|School board will decide how to use extra $300,000|
Friday, May 24, 2013
By STACEY HAIRSTON - Staff Writer
The Franklin County School Board will meet Wednesday, May 29 to discuss the best way to utilize the extra $300,000 allotted to schools by the Franklin County Board of Supervisors.
The supervisors voted 6-1 Tuesday afternoon to allocate the extra money, which will be generated through an uptick in various tax revenues, including real estate and personal property, county officials said.
"We are unsure at this time what the extra money will be used for," said school Superintendent Dr. Mark Church. "Everyone has a cause they are fighting for. It is a tough situation."
New school board Chairman Sarah Alexander said the schools are grateful for the extra money and will work together to determine the best use for the funds.
"We will look at all our options and needs, and try to come up with reasonable solutions and compromises," she said. "I'm confident the (school) board will come together to reach reasonable solutions that will benefit all Franklin County students."
"We are appreciative of the additional funds. While it doesn't solve all our problems, we will do our very best with what we've been allotted," Alexander added.
Facing a $1.5 million shortfall for fiscal year 2013-14, the school board earlier approved numerous cuts, including sports programs at the middle school and 14 slots at the Roanoke Valley Governor's School. Those two cuts have generated the most controversy among Franklin County residents.
Middle school sports involve 17 teams, including golf, softball, baseball, volleyball, cheerleading and two football teams. Also included in the cuts are boys' and girls' teams of soccer, track, cross country and four basketball teams.
At the Wednesday meeting, the school board will also discuss procedures for filling the school board slot left vacant by former Chairman Ed Jamison, who resigned at the last school board meeting after the board voted to cut all middle school sports.
"Governor's School and sports are both important programs, but it's not fair to pick and choose which program deserves funding and which doesn't," he said, before resigning and walking out of the meeting.
The following day, Jamison explained his reason for resigning.
"In this case, resigning was my last attempt to make a stand to treat all students fairly," he said. "I truly apologize to my constituents and school employees if my actions have offended anyone."
Jamison said he was "touched" by the hundreds of calls, emails and texts from constituents, school employees and parents he received asking him to rescind his resignation. However, Jamison ultimately decided to allow his resignation to stand.