City school board to ask council for $150K extra in budget

Published 3:25 pm Saturday, May 20, 2017


The Franklin City School Board members voted unanimously during their regular scheduled meeting on Thursday evening to request that the City Council increase their local funding for their fiscal year 2017-2018 budget by $150,000. The request will be presented to the council during their meeting on Monday evening.

This would be in addition to the roughly $4.9 million the city was planning on budgeting for their local contribution to the school division. The board had previously discussed requesting $350,000 in additional local funding, but was told by city representatives that the city did not have that amount available.

School Board Chairman Bob Holt said that the $350,000 initially discussed was to make up for unfunded mandates from the state and an increase in the cost of the division’s employee health insurance policy.

Interim Superintendent Kelvin Edwards Sr. said the requested $150,000 extra would help the division give its teachers raises starting Sept. 1. Holt added that the state had already voted to give all teachers in Virginia a raise using state funds, which would take effect in February 2018, but the increase would help fund the raise throughout the school year and help the division retain quality teachers.

“We are experiencing a lot of attrition within FCPS and that trend is continuing to occur for us where we’re losing our personnel,” Edwards said. “With this, we could lend a hand to our teachers; their insurance [costs] definitely went up.”

The board also issued final approval of Franklin High School’s 2017-2018 course catalog. Changes for the coming school year include: a required first aid course for incoming first-time ninth grade students, in compliance with a General Assembly law, commonly known as “Gwyneth’s Law,” passed in 2013; an economics and personal finance course for grades 10, 11 and 12; and a new course called AVID III.

The meeting also included a presentation by Gail Wade announcing the best teacher and student attendance awards, the Blue Ribbon clean school award  and the teacher of the year awards for each school and the division as a whole. S.P. Morton Elementary received the award for best teacher attendance for the month of April, with Dr. Sherie Davis, principal, accepting on behalf of the school. J.P. King Middle School received the best student attendance award for April with Principal Lisa Francis accepting. The Blue Ribbon award for April also went to S.P. Morton with Head Custodian Cassandra Clark accepting.

Nicole Cooper received the teacher of the year award for S.P. Morton. Marilyn Freeman, a sixth grade math teacher, received teacher of the year for J.P. King and Teresa Rawlings, a history teacher, received teacher of the year for FHS.

The only citizens’ time speaker was Josette Sthole-Hayes, who announced that after six years of advocating for the S.P. Morton PTA, she would be stepping down from her involvement with the association and moving out of the area.

The board was also scheduled to discuss property liability and workers compensation, but they voted to table that discussion pending further clarification from Interim Finance Director Sheila Minor.

The board will meet with members of city council for a joint work session one hour prior to the start of the council’s regular scheduled meeting on Monday. The work session will begin at 6 p.m. and the regular meeting at 7 p.m.