Board to survey for middle school name

FRONT ROYAL — Following months of discussion, the Warren County School Board will begin polling names for a new county middle school next week.

The choices — Mountain View Middle School, Twin Rivers Middle School, Royal Oak Middle School or Happy Creek Middle School — were whittled down in part from a list of names previously considered for Skyline High School.

Voting will be open for two weeks through the school division’s website at http://www.wcps.k12.va.us and in print at the School Board office and county schools.

The survey will include a second option of renaming Warren County Middle School as Skyline Middle School and awarding the new school the name of Warren County Middle.

These options were reached after board members discussed the possible challenges of Warren Middle and Warren High serving separate attendance zones.

Superintendent Pamela McInnis reminded board members of her suggestion last meeting to keep attendance zones the way they are now, with students from Leslie Fox Keyser Elementary School and Hilda J. Barbour Elementary funneling into the new middle school and ultimately into Warren County High School, with the rest of the county attending Warren County Middle and Skyline.

Those opposed to changing Warren County Middle’s name cited the building’s history as the former Warren County High and reasoned that longtime residents would adhere to the history of keeping the name of Warren County on that building.

But board member James Wells suggested the old reasons aren’t relevant anymore.

“It doesn’t make sense 10 years from now to a parent or a child,” he said. “Why am I going to Warren County Middle School and then going over to Skyline High School?”

Ultimately letting the board decide, McInnis pointed out the cost involved with renaming a school but also opposed a previous suggestion of naming both middle schools Warren County, with east and west campuses.

“I do believe a school deserves its own name and its own identity,” she said.

Hoping to select a general contractor for the new school in mid-June, the board voted to begin soliciting proposals for special inspection services for the new middle school. The inspector will verify compliance with building requirements.

The board also selected the accounting firm Robinson, Farmer, Cox Associates to conduct the district’s fiscal year 2015 School Activity Funds audit and authorized Chairperson Catherine Bower and Director of Finance Rob Ballentine to sign the letter of engagement.

School Board policy directs the district to submit to an audit of activity funds at least once a year, and the firm, located at 210 N. Commerce Ave., Front Royal, has provided the district audit for the past several years. This year’s proposed audit cost is $8,600.

The board approved the renewal of its contract with OpenRDA in the amount of $35,546.22 for support of the finance software and hardware system. The company provides the software for free, and the cost of the contract was included in the approved 2016 School Board budget.

Members also voted to renew property, liability, student accident and workers’ compensation insurances for the 2015-16 year through the Virginia Association of Counties Group Self Insurance Risk Pool. The proposed rate will be more than $25,000 lower because custodial employees’ insurance is outsourced.

Offered the option of increasing employees’ Cyber Risk Liability insurance, Ballentine recommended an increase from $500,000 in coverage to $1 million at an annual cost of $5,000, in the case of network security breaches like hacking and viruses or in the case of identity theft.

But following Cherefko’s suggestion of kicking in another $2,000 for an extra million in coverage, the board voted to approve $2 million in coverage against the risk of a security breach.

Said Rosen, “[Financial security is] so fragile, and the bad guys are moving quick.”

Wells agreed, “[Coverage is] going to have to go up sooner or later.”

The next regular School Board meeting will be June 11 at 210 N. Commerce Ave., Front Royal.

Contact staff writer Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com