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Fauquier County School Board tightens restrictions on athletics transfers

Monday, Feb. 17 | By Hannah Dellinger
The Fauquier County School Board Monday night unanimously approved a policy revision that will tighten the restrictions on athletic transfers.

The new revision will make the division’s requirements closer to the wording used in the Virginia High School League handbook. The county already used the VHSL guidelines prior to this change, but they were not explicitly stated in the county policy.

In a recent Fauquier Times story by Sports Writer Jeff Malmgren, superintendent of schools Dr. David Jeck said “[the revision] puts added teeth into the policy. The VHSL policy was much more restrictive than our policy.”

The new wording on the policy stipulates that a student must prove that he or she has a genuine new address in the county and that the student’s entire family has left the previous residence with the intent of moving permanently.

This policy change became a hot-button issue after FCPS received a complaint in September of 2013 that a high school student athlete had allegedly illegally transferred schools to participate in a sports program.

According to assistant superintendent of schools, Frank Finn, who headed an investigation into the allegations, there was no proof of a violation.

Budget proposal update

Jeck gave a presentation clarifying certain parts of the proposed fiscal year 2015 budget and updates on the governor’s proposed budget.
According to Jeck, There are two proposed executive amendments to the governor’s budget that may affect the school division.
The “hold harmless” amendment would hold the county harmless relative to local composite index change, which would give the county public schools back roughly $150,000.

A six percent match raise bill is being considered, which would help fill the gap in pension payments that the county is required to pay into. Jeck warned that this bill isn’t getting much media coverage and isn’t being discussed by the county’s legislative liaison, which may mean that the bill won’t go anywhere.

Jeck also took the time to clarify a few topics that the public has had questions about, regarding the proposed budget.
He noted that the request for a supervisor of advanced fine arts. He said that this new position would oversee gifted and talented programs as well as fine arts for kindergarten through 12th grade, not just through fifth grade.

“There’s a lot to it,” said Jeck. “It’s not as simple as they manage the K through five gifted program. It’s much more than that, and I think that it’s important that we consolidate those with one person managing those.”

He also said the school division’s goal is to have an official instructional technology resource teacher for each school, and in order to accomplish this, instructional assistant positions will have to be cut.

Jeck said that the community was concerned about which middle school sports are proposed to come back with the new budget.

“As soon as this information hit the mainstream, it was, ‘why isn’t there football and why isn’t there volleyball?’” said Jeck. “We asked the principals to meet with Mr. Finn and to give us a recommendation as to which sports they wanted to add. So that’s where that came from.”
Jeck spoke about the request for a 2.2 percent pay increase for teachers.

“Looking down further we’re really talking a five to six year plan to improve our salaries,” said Jeck. “We’re looking for a long-term solution to a problem that exists within our scale.”

He said that the problem lies in the salaries of teachers with three to 13 years of experience. Teachers in this range of experience tend to leave FCPS for better opportunities and more competitive pay scales.

“That’s where we lose about half of our teachers,” said Jeck. “We don’t know exactly where those folks are going or exactly why they’re leaving, we just know that’s where they’re leaving. So we feel like we need to address those over a long period of time, while still increasing compensation for folks at the other ends of those scales.”

In other business, the school board hosted a special presentation for the teachers who were nominated for the Washington Post Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award. Letters from parents and students were read about the nominees and they were each presented with an apple trophy.

The nominees include:
-Jennifer Armstrong, fourth-grade teacher, Thompson Elementary School
-Leslie Bailey, speech pathologist, Miller Elementary School
-Haf Corbin, reading teacher, Cedar Lee Middle School
-Tony Dandrea, history teacher, Warrenton Middle School
-Bill Davidson, technology and engineering teacher, Kettle Run High School
-Allison Graves, music teacher, Smith Elementary School
-Pam Graves, fifth-grade teacher, Brumfield Elementary School
-Jim O’Brokta, world history and economics teacher, Liberty High School
-Karen Perryman, special education teacher, Pierce Elementary School
-Caitlin Scott, English teacher, Auburn Middle School
-David Smith, government teacher, Fauquier High School
-Jared Zangari, technology teacher, Taylor Middle School.

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