School Board OKs budget

FRONT ROYAL — At a Thursday night meeting, the Warren County School Board approved its proposed budget for the 2016 fiscal year and scheduled a special meeting at 5 p.m. on March 26, when the board will name a new superintendent.

Last August, Superintendent Pamela McInnis announced her retirement effective at the close of the 2014-15 school year. The new superintendent will begin July 1, and the board plans to introduce him or her to the community at a reception in April.

Also Thursday, Vice Chair Roy Boyles, who represents the North River District, formally announced his resignation effective April 1, citing health concerns in his resignation letter to the board. His term was due to end on Dec. 31.

The board acknowledged the resignation, which Boyles first announced at a March 12 board meeting, and authorized advertisement of the vacancy with a deadline of 4 p.m. April 17 to receive letters from interested candidates. The cost of advertising the vacancy is estimated at $244 and will be paid using the current budget.

By Virginia code, the School Board must fill a vacancy in an unexpired term within 45 days of the office becoming vacant. In the case remaining board members cannot agree on a new appointment, judges of the circuit court may choose a new member.

Last October, the board appointed Douglas Rosen to the Shenandoah District following Kimberly Athey’s resignation on Sept. 19 from her unexpired term. Rosen’s term and the term of South River district member Joanne Cherefko also end this December.

The recommended operating budget McInnis proposed to the board totals $52,128,932, an increase of $594,024 over the 2015 budget. The projection includes a 1.5 percent salary increase for all full-time contracted employees and the addition of one teacher for the district’s participation in Project Lead the Way.

The board also approved a cafeteria fund budget of $2,511,454 — a 2 percent increase over this year’s budget — and plans to submit both budgets to the Warren County Board of Supervisors in a letter, likely on Friday.

McInnis nominated Royal Broadcasting, SOS Consulting LLC and Syntax Communications Inc. for the Virginia School Board Association Business Honor Roll.

Potential names for the county’s proposed second middle school were announced during a work session included as part of the meeting agenda.

McInnis offered a list of six names chosen from those submitted during the naming process for Skyline High School.

“I don’t know that we need to start from scratch all over again, because these are certainly viable suggestions,” McInnis said.

The names are Blue Ridge Middle School, Front Royal Middle School, Mountain View Middle School, Twin Rivers Middle School, Shenandoah Middle School and Royal Oak Middle School.

Other names she suggested are Happy Creek Middle School or Leach Run Middle School, named for the roads where the school will be located.

Secondary and high schools in Warren County are not named for individuals, McInnis reminded the board, however she admitted Leach Run Parkway is named for an area family.

After viewing the list without comment from board members, Chairperson Catherine Bower suggested another alternative: Both of the county’s middle schools might be called Warren County Middle School, with a Skyline campus to funnel students into Skyline High School and a Warren campus to send students to Warren County High School.

That way, she said, there would be no confusion over which high school students would attend.

Said Boyles, “I like that approach.”

Following a joke from Boyles that the school mascot could be “an otter or something,” Bower commented favorably and suggested the board sleep on the decision of what to name the new school.

The School Board will hold a special meeting at 5 p.m. March 26 to name a new superintendent. Its next regular meeting will be at 7 p.m. April 9, when the board will discuss naming the new middle school, request to appropriate school operating surplus from the fiscal 2014 budget and hold a first reading of its February 2015 policy updates.

Contact staff writer Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or