School board to hold year-end meeting; Berkley thinks budget will work out

Published 12:31 pm Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The end-of-year Lunenburg County School Board meeting will be held 10 a.m. Thursday, June 30, at Central High School.

The system has had its highs and difficulties this year. The highs included the successful introduction of its robotics team, and raising Standards of Learning scores — even if they did not meet levels to be considering passing. Its math scores, as nationally, need improvement — and so the system will have its first match specialist, Superintendent Charles Berkley Jr. said.

The system’s successes were capped off with May’s commencement celebrating 101 graduates in the class of 2016.

Just as important, Berkley is optimistic about the budget process and that the schools have dealt with a nearly $1 million deficit created by three big hits the system took this year.

“Everything is going smoothly and I think we are going to come out in the black,” Berkley told the school board at its Monday, June 13, meeting.

First, the system fell 41 students short of projected enrollment for the year, causing an approximately $400,000 shortfall since funding is attached to the number of students.

Then, insurance went up by approximately $110,000; and the state gave some of the system’s employees 2 percent raises, prompting the need for administrators to come up with $307,000 to give raises to everyone else.

The system is looking to wrap up this school year in the midst of preparing for the next. Summer school has started; the teachers will return to the classroom August, and classes begin Aug. 22.

The system is hiring personnel to fill positions of those who left or retired, and hopes to be fully staffed by the time of its meeting at the end of the month. Earlier in the month, Berkley warned the Lunenburg County Board of Supervisors that the system could face an exodus in the next eight to 10 years as more staff reaches retirement, Berkley said.

But, he also noted there are some good signs.

It appears that the system has more kindergarteners than graduates this year, Berkley said.

“That’s good news,” Berkley said. “It’s a good sign (that) we are growing.”