County board OKs $36M budget

Published 11:12 pm Tuesday, March 12, 2019



During Monday night’s meeting, the Southampton County School Board unanimously approved the proposed $36,0041,987 operating budget for the 2019-2020 school year. The money would come from the following revenues:

• Sales tax – $2,936,121

• State funds – $17,262,176

• Local/Board of Supervisor funds – $14,073,111

• Federal funds – $1,710,579

• Other funds – $60,000

The school board also requested a $2,000 annual increase for teacher assistants and a $1,000 annual increase for drivers, which is an overall increase of 3 percent.

In the proposal, the board wants to focus on the following:

• Enhancements to the Transportation Department

• Additional personnel to replace positions lost due to budget cuts and to meet students’ needs

• Expand learning opportunities and increase student achievement

• Maintain competitiveness

• Fund mandatory increases in health insurance – 24 percent increase

Three people shared their concerns about the school district’s transportation system. Jane Holloway, a grandmother of two children from Ivor, commended the school system for giving her grandchildren, especially her granddaughter, a wonderful experience. Then she expressed her concerns about transportation.

“Transportation sucks. It’s not just a lack of quality, but also a lack of support that the bus drivers receive. We are no longer at a point where we need bus drivers, we are in a crisis,” said Holloway, “Teachers are not able to do what they need to do if students aren’t at school. The majority of the students have academic classes at the beginning of the school day, and kids who are late don’t get the materials that they need for those classes.”

She continued, “My husband and I started having problems with having our granddaughter picked up. I have called three times to talk to somebody about the transportation, and each time I had to leave a voice message. From this day, I haven’t gotten a call back. This morning, we had to drive her to school again. My husband got up and brought her to school. We’re both retired, but what about the parents who have to go to work? We got to do better than this.”

Patrick Pacheco was in agreement with Holloway.

“The schools are excellent, but the main problem is transportation. All of us know about the accident that took place a while back that involved one of the school buses. We have yet to receive an apology and an explanation about what happened with the bus. My kids were on that bus. My wife and I work, so we can’t always be at home to watch them get on the bus. Something has to be done about the bus transportation system.”

Travis Schnur also expressed similar concerns.

“There was no substitute bus. Both of my children have diabetes, and there’s no one to make sure that they are OK.

“We also have a shortage of nurses. One day, the nurse had to leave early, which I can understand, but no one who is trained to take care of my children.”


In other school news, the school board recognized Lavern Artis in honor of School Board Clerk Appreciation Week.

Desiree Key, the career service specialist at the Southampton Technical Career Center, shared with the school board about the Career and Technical Education Career Fair that took place on Feb. 28.

“The career fair was well attended, and our students spoke and communicated well,” said Key.

Colleges, universities, financial institutions, apprenticeship programs, health care industries, military, came to the fair to inform students about opportunities. 300-400 students attended the event.

Kellie Gillette presented to the school board the fall SOL preliminary results during the instructional report. The results are as follows:

Southampton High School

• Reading and writing – 92

• Math – 83

• Science – 93

• History – 74

Southampton Middle School

• Math – 100 percent

The school board approved three overnight trip requests. The first was requested by the Future Farmers of America to the Block & Bridle Livestock Competition. The next was to the SkillsUSA State Championship. FBLA State Leadership Conference was the third.

The board also OK’d facility use request from the following:

• AAU Western Tidewater Braves Basketball Team

• Celebration Church

It was decided that the school board should delay making a final decision for a request by Cover 3 Foundation in regard to recognizing Southampton High School alumni that played for the NFL, the small purchasing agreement and Hale Contracts.