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BreakDown: Danville School Board (4/16/15) – Part #1

You might say “How can you have a BreakDown article when you haven’t even covered Thursday night’s Danville School Board work session?” I’ll answer you by saying “Why don’t we do both at once?”

This was a very interesting meeting. Let’s get the first part of it done now.

We’ll do this article in Big Board style so that it’s easy to switch between happenings, commentary and photos. Let’s get it started.

  • 6:00 PM and we’re underway. Everybody’s here except Terri Hall, and she’ll arrive around 6:20 PM. If you want to read about tonight’s meeting in the Register & Bee, forget it! I’m all alone at the media table.

  • Since this is the “work session” and not the first meeting of the month, it’s not important to pray or say the Pledge of Allegiance. Not really! Well, maybe sorta. But they only do that for the first meeting of the month. No, I don’t know why. They also don’t do a public comment session or an around-the-horn segment during work sessions either. I still don’t know why.
  • We’re going to celebrate School Nutrition Employee Week and Teacher Appreciation Week on May 4-8, and National School Nurse Day on May 6th. That’s all approved on the consent agenda and the board will do the official recognition at the May 7th meeting.
  • Lori Cassada presents the finance and textbook account reports.

We caught Lori Cassada getting a little bit animated in her presentation. Delores Reynolds and Jackie Rochford’s hair, HELLO!

  • Chairman Ed Polhamus reads Governor McAuliffe’s proclamation of “Virginia Tech Remembrance Day”. Now, the discussion turns to talk about handicapped access to board meetings. GAH! If the board would move their meetings to City Council chambers, this point would be moot. We’d also get live TV coverage of the meetings. I’m still fighting for that to happen. One of the most ridiculous reasons against it was “Sometimes, staff needs to get more information and they can just run upstairs to get it.” Since I’ve been covering school board meetings, that’s happened exactly zero times. If that was the case for a meeting in council chambers, somebody would just have to walk the 1/8 of a mile to get that information. Fooey.
  • The board asks Superintendent Kathy Osborne to talk with the building owner to make sure that the door to the elevator is unlocked during board meetings, and to work on signage pointing the way to the Super Secret Restrooms. Now remember, folks. Those Super Secret Restrooms are only for use during board meetings. Another board member asks about building wheelchair accessible ramps from the rear parking lot, but that ain’t gonna happen. Come on, School Board members. Do the right thing. Move your meetings to a better location for the public.
  • Juliet Jennings makes her way to the podium. She’s going over the personnel recommendations that the board members have in the Red Folder. Ooooh! Some teachers are doing the retirement after the deadline to enroll in the early retirement program. Those teachers’ retirements are granted, but the early retirement system part is put on hold until the board figures out what they’re going to do with it. I believe that the board will close the program to new entries but continue to operate the program for the people already in it. Anyway, the personnel recommendations are approved. Could they really tell somebody “No, we’re not going to let you retire”? We heart Juliet Jennings.

  • Let’s move along to issuing contracts for the next school year. Sunbelt Staffing gets the psychology services for another year. Milk will come from Maola, ice cream from Hershey’s, juices from Dan Valley and bottled water from Lawrence Distributing. Hey, how about a Fun Fact on how much milk that Danville Public Schools will go through in the 2015-2016 school year?

  • That’s an Oddly Specific estimated usage of 901,148 cartons of milk. That’s also 72.6% chocolate milk. Where’s the whole milk? Where’s the Jungle Juice? Why am I remembering back to my elementary school days?
  • Next comes the approval of the internet rates for the high schools. John Parris goes over that. I was busy getting other information so I missed a lot about that.

All righty! That’s the end of Part #1. In Part #2, we’ll talk about the finalization of the budget, the surprises of that finalization, Warrick Scott asks for a letter of support for a new initiative and Dr. Jones wants to go to Roanoke. All of that plus Norhurst (yes, that Norhurst) is coming up in Part #2!

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