Joint meeting possible in early 2018

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Crystal Harris, chairman of the Patrick County Board of Supervisors, addressed the Patrick County School Board on Thursday.

A joint meeting between the Patrick County Board of Supervisors and the Patrick County School Board may take place early next year.

Crystal Harris, chairman of the supervisors, invited the school board Thursday to a joint meeting in early 2018. She said the meeting is needed to work on the budget and also help address some concerns in the community.

Noting two new school board members – Brandon Simmons in the Dan River District and Walter Scott in the Smith River District – are set to take office in January, Harris said the start of a new year would be a good time for the meeting.

Harris also said there is no animosity and “would be no yelling from me” at the joint meeting. She noted she “couldn’t promise” the same from other supervisors.

Regardless, she said “we need to work together for the betterment of Patrick County, our taxpayers and the children. We’re going to have to work our problems out. We cannot have what happened this year happen next year.”

Ronnie Terry, chairman of the school board, agreed to work on scheduling a joint meeting in February. He noted the January meetings held by both boards generally are used for reorganizational purposes.

On at least two occasions, the supervisors directed the county administrator to arrange a joint meeting. School officials declined those requests, but offered to meet in a smaller group and invited supervisors to submit questions/concerns for a reply.

After the meeting, Harris said she was not surprised that school officials are amendable to the meeting.

“Everybody was very kind” when she issued the invitation, Harris said.

Dean Gilbert, assistant superintendent, “was very professional in inviting me” to have Rose contact Gilbert to arrange a date for the meeting, Harris said.

In other matters Thursday, the school board:

*Heard a report from Kirk Renegar, Hardin Reynolds Memorial School principal, that the school hosted a team of 4th and 5th grade teachers from the Allegany County school district who “wanted to come down and see what we do.” The visiting teachers “were very complimentary of our students and our staff. That’s a credit toward the kids and the teachers,” Renegar said.

*Heard a report about how the Chromebooks initiative is being implemented successfully in classrooms.  James Eaton, a 6th grade teacher at Stuart Elementary School; and Amy Corns, a math teacher at Patrick County High School, shared how they had incorporated the blended learning opportunities in their classrooms.

*Considered versions of an exit survey, a form that will provide feedback from school personnel who leave the division.

*Approved a pay scale for substitute cafeteria, custodial, clerical, bus drivers, nurses and other support positions. The new scale goes into effect in January.

*Following a closed session meeting to discuss the monthly discipline report and personnel, the board approved a personnel report.