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Board takes steps to close Boydton Elementary
Tuesday, May 13, 2008 12:51 PM
BOYDTON -What was slated to be a work session to discuss ways to cut the budget for the upcoming school year quickly turned into a session on how to save money by closing a school.
The Mecklenburg County School Board made its first official vote towards closing Boydton Elementary School Monday. In a five to three vote the board voted to facilitate the closing of Boydton Elementary.
The board needs to cut the proposed budget by $400,000 to meet the minimal funding the county board of supervisors will likely be supplying. A final vote on the county budget will not take place until May 28.
School Board Chairman Carol Bowman said she approached the county board of supervisors about the school board budget. "I approached them with the idea that we are projecting that at the end of the year we will have a balance of $30,000," she said. "However, we could be that close; you never can anticipate something that might come up. Would they be willing to discuss using carry over funds in that case? They said they would be willing to discuss that on an individual basis. So tonight we have to cut $763,000."
The school division had asked for an additional $763,000 over last year's funding amount from the county. The supervisors are leaning towards level funding in the amount of $10,649,629 for the upcoming school year. This is the same amount received in the current school year.
School board member Joan Wagstaff turned the discussion toward closing schools. "In light of the supervisors' decisions, we have got to make some tough decisions to maintain and improve these programs that have made our school system successful," Wagstaff said.
"I just feel like instead of talking about all the stuff we can't do, we need to start developing a 'can do' approach. We need to find a way to make school consolidation work. I think the argument we have no place to put the school children is not supported."
Wagstaff said, "Consolidation, I know it is a hard subject for a lot of people here. I think the cost of educating a child is higher at Boydton Elementary. It is higher than at any other school.
"In doing some research I found that Virginia code 22.1-79 states that it is the school boards duty to provide for the consolidation or redistricting of school boundaries or adopt pupil assignment plans whenever such procedure will contribute to the efficiency of the school division. So I feel like we have the duty as a school board, and we do, to consolidate inefficiencies, because it is the law.