Westmoreland County School Board Renews Perry’s Contract For Another 4 Years
The Westmoreland County School Board met electronically on May 18. Using social media and other technology the board conducted much needed business.
First up was the business of renewing Westmoreland County Superintendent Dr. Michael Perry for another 4 year contract. The motion was passed and unanimously voted in favor of renewal.
Everyone on the board thanked Dr. Perry for his “outstanding performance”.
Perry said he feels like he has been treated like family and he said what makes it easy to work for Westmoreland Schools is the teamwork of all the faculty and board members.
Resolution: Suspension of School Board Policies
The Virginia School Board Association has recommended a resolution to all Virginia schools that would allow and give guidance to school boards to suspend any and all policies that, if implemented, would go against Covid 19 state and federal guidelines.
The resolution was submitted, considered by the board and approved unanimously by the board members present.
Policy Regarding Bus Drivers
The school board asked for a legal opinion as to whether the school may require training and certification for CPR, for the number of drivers and transportation aids who currently hold these certifications and inquired as to how other localities have handled the optional training requirement.
The Westmoreland County School Board Attorney stated the school board is legally authorized to require certification or training in CPR, Emergency first aid and use of an automated defibrillator or any combination of that training.
The Lawyer recommended that the school board consider picking up the cost of training if it is required.
If it is required of currently employed drivers but was not previously required when the driver was hired, the school is obligated to pay the driver or transportation aid while they are undergoing the training as well as pick up the tab for the training.
Westmoreland County employs 11 transportation aids, 37 bus drivers, 13 car drivers and several substitutes for those roles.
2 bus drivers and one substitutes CPR, emergency first aid and defibrillator training.
Ms. Rice reported that many Virginia school system in our region, do require some type of training in either or all of the three areas listed above.
Ms. Rice recommended the board consider the following considerations:
- If certification is required the training will require a hands on training.
- Certification expires every two years so it would need to be renewed.
- If training only is required the board could require either online training alone or both online and hands on as well as determine how often the training will be updated.
Rice also suggested the Board consider timing. “We have 61 contracted transportation employees currently who would need the training, plus the substitutes. Keep in mind the hands-on component is not available due to Covid 19. This requirement has been waved until January.” Rice added that when classes resume only 6 students can take the class at one time, which has nothing to do with Covid 19 social distancing.
The question was raised, Are the buses were equipped with AED units for defibrillation? The answer is no, however the training for these devises is short and is already included in the overall training.
The board passed a resolution that would require training but leave the option to include certification at a later date when feasible.
Currently all current employees will have until to June 30, 2021 time to complete the training and new hires must show proof of training and/or certification in these three areas or if hired after May 19th or later must complete the training within 90 calendar days of hire date.
The board handled some budgetary house keeping matters moving and appropriating funds to the proper line items and Ms. Rice gave a budget update regarding impacts from Covid19.
Revenues that are known to be reduced are just over $2 million dollars for the 2020-21 school year budget.
Rice reported that staff has worked hard to reduce the amount of positions that have been cut, eliminated extra supplemental work and put off several maintenance projects in order to keep as many jobs in tact and keep those salaries at current levels.
To get a more in-depth description of steps taken in this direction watch the video linked above.
Rice also reported that stimulus money designed to help mitigate costs due to Covid19 (Cares) will be allocated to Westmoreland County in the approximate amount of over $500,000.00 which will be shared with private schools in the area. Furthermore, school systems have two years in which to utilize this money which is designed to reimburse school systems for expenses brought on by the pandemic.
Perry reported that faculty are working to ensure continuity in student learning and remains current. Since the fate of the upcoming year is not certain, the school system is preparing to continue teaching electronically if schools do not reopen by next year for in school learning.
The school system is also planning this year’s graduation. Click here for the details.