Board approves classes a year early

At a regular meeting Thursday evening, the Warren County School Board approved an addendum to the program of studies the division was able to institute a year early.

The addendum to the previously approved program that includes AP physics was intended for the 2016-17 school year, but will begin this fall because teachers at Skyline and Warren County high schools were able to complete all necessary preparatory work a year early.

The $6,000 in program textbooks and materials will come out of the district’s 2016 operations budget, said Director of Finance Robert Ballentine.

Because students in the program will substitute one course for another, he said, “It is something that was budgeted for one way or another for the coming year.”

The board also approved a Title 1 math coach and health insurance rates for the coming year.

No one from the public spoke during a public hearing on the matter of the district’s sale of its property at 144 Water St., Front Royal, and Ballentine said the board has not taken any action yet on the sale.

“This was just, I believe, a step in the process that they had to do before they could sell it,” he said.

Superintendent Pamela McInnis recommended board members not redraw division lines for a new middle school as she previously suggested. She explained in a Friday phone interview that because the new school will be located so far away from Skyline High School, redrawing lines to allow students of the new school to later attend Skyline would place undue transportation time on students.

“Kids need to be in school, rather than traveling to school,” she said.

Instead, she suggested the board agree that students from Hilda J. Barbour Elementary School and Leslie Fox Keyser Elementary School ascend to the new middle school and then to Warren County High School, while students from the county’s other three elementary schools move up to Warren County Middle and later Skyline.

“That’s my suggestion to the board,” she said.

McInnis also presented the board with a letter from Town Manager Steve Burke asking the school district to conduct a traffic impact study to determine how the new school will affect traffic levels on Happy Creek Road.

“I don’t think that’s going to need to take place, because I don’t believe we’re going to change what we originally proposed,” McInnis said.

The board plans to hold a work session before its next regular meeting, at 5 p.m. May 28, to consider names for the new school and discuss a timeline for allowing the community vote on a name, as well as discuss a School Board retreat. Ballentine said the board has taken a retreat each year for at least the past few years.

At its next meeting, the board also plans to approve the school activity fund audit firm; award property, liability, auto and workers’ compensation insurances for the 2016 fiscal year and approve out of county tuition; as well as award a contract for finance software support and discuss the February 2015 VSBA policy updates.

The board also announced the appointment of Benjamin T. Lombardo, who will replace Frank Yeakle as Skyline High School band director effective July 13.

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