Superintendent says first day of school went well

Published 1:19 pm Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Superintendent Charles Berkley Jr. said Lunenburg County Public Schools opened Monday “with beautiful weather and very few unexpected hiccups or problems.”

“The transition from summer break to opening of school was very smooth with hopes of increased enrollments in all four schools,” he said in a statement. “There were still new students being enrolled … so we are very optimistic on our enrollment figures.”

Victoria Elementary School had 372 students in attendance and Kenbridge Elementary School had 353 students, including 52 pre-kindergarten students, Berkley said. Lunenburg Middle School had 336 students and Central High School had 460 students with students still enrolling.

In July, the school system announced a deficit of $317,000 owed in debt services for construction of the middle school.

The county ended up paying the debt and the system will repay it.

A major contributor to the system’s financial woes came when it fell 40 students short of projected enrolled for the 2015-16 academic year, causing an approximately $400,000 shortfall.

This school year, school officials hope attendance figures meet projections and there will be no repeat of the problem.

Berkley said in the statement that school officials have worked hard in preparation for the opening, often handling duties that do not seem essential to the core responsibility of providing a learning environment.

“We expend endless time organizing schedules, ordering books and ensuring that buses run and toilets flush,” he said. “Principals struggle to be available to everyone at all times about all matters while simultaneously attending a steady stream of — often inconsequential — meetings.”

But, Berkley said, the first day of school never loses its magic — even for him.

“Everybody kinds of holds their breath,” he said. “I still get butterflies, I love the first day of school; it is such a sense of excitement amid all the preparation and administration. The real reason for school makes an appearance as the students pour into the halls, ready to learn and eager to meet new teachers and friends. The students’ energy echoes the enthusiasm of teachers and the relief of many parents.

“Lunenburg County Public Schools are ready for a fantastic school year with continued success in academics, athletics and student growth in preparation of molding and developing every student to be ready for the 21st century workforce. Also we will be celebrating Central High School’s 50th anniversary.”