Warren school programs receive grant funding

FRONT ROYAL – Besides approval of the 2016-2017 school calendar and a new substitute teaching outsourcing contract, Warren County Public Schools received more than $40,000 in grants from the Warren County Educational Endowment at the December School Board meeting.

A reception in honor of Joanne Cherefko’s last meeting as South River board member was held before it began, with remarks from board Chair Catherine Bower and a speech from Cherefko, who said she would be staying in the area teaching poetry seminars and serving on boards for Mountain Vista Governor’s School. She thanked those that worked at Warren Schools for a rewarding 12 years and remarked on the “unprecedented partnership” between the schools and the Board of Supervisors. School administration and staff thanked her for her service throughout the meeting.

Amber Flynn, a parent of a first grade student at Ressie Jeffries Elementary School and PTO vice president, expressed her continued concern for the wellbeing of staff and students there. Although a mold spore survey conducted at the school in November concluded that there was not a mold problem, she said much of the problem areas had been cleared up soon before the study was conducted.

“Even though all the areas were cleaned up, the underlying causes of the mold are still there,” she said.

Flynn also said her son has missed two weeks of school this year due to respiratory illness and although she said she received a letter attributing delayed repairs to the economy, she said Ressie should’ve taken priority over renovations on the 15th Street building and construction of the new middle school. Besides the work already on the schools’ list, she said functions like bathrooms and heating register cleaning need to be addressed.

“I believe that the overpopulation should not trump the health of our children and our staff,” she said. “The money being allocated to Ressie for repairs is simply not enough.”

County Administrator Doug Stanley came before the board as president of the endowment to announce $40,412.68 in grants for 11 programs at Warren County schools like a drum circle, archery club, Science in 3D and band enrichment opportunities with master musicians.

“The endowment believes it takes private support and public efforts to incubate an idea or approach that helps students compete in a global marketplace, instills passion for lifelong learning and sparks a vision to stretch for success,” he said.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com