Mon11242014

Last updateMon, 27 Nov 2017 12am

   201411metrocastweb

Congdon’s report mirrors citizen’s concerns

At Colonial Beach School Board's most recent meeting, resident Margaret Antosz addressed the board with concerns that it has accomplished little in the last year other than for members to bicker amongst themselves.
Her original desire to address only certain members was quickly squelched by Chairman Timothy Trivett who said she would have to address the board as a whole. Antosz wished to address Chairman Trivett, Mike Looney and Ann Congdon who campaigned in May of 2008 as a group known as TLC.
Antosz complained of broken campaign promises, lack of accomplishments and an inability of the members to get along.

Read more: Congdon’s report mirrors citizen’s concerns

Pre-K program slated for Board approval tonight.

At the June 3rd work session,  School Board members looked over the Colonial Beach public schools Comprehensive Plan for Coordinated Services, presented by teacher Audrey Berryman.
One new program that is being introduced and aggressively pursued is the pre-K program for students who will be 4 years old by September 30th.  Berryman told the Board last week that teachers, parents, and students are elated with the prospect.
This program differs from the current Head Start Program (which allows 3 year olds) in its criteria for selection and age group. The Pre-K program under Title I will focus on students with specific needs relating to adjusting to a school environment and various social interaction skills, as well as academic criteria.

Read more: Pre-K program slated for Board approval tonight.

CB School Board spends $50,000 during short session

   At last week's Colonial Beach School Board meeting Councilman Steve Kennedy cautioned the School Board that the town needs to tighten its belts. Kennedy said “We need to save money, not thousands but we need to look at every nickel and dime.”
   This advice was the result of a meeting attended by Vice Mayor Trish King and   Councilman Kennedy in Richmond last week. The two attended the VML legislative day and listened to Governor Kaine talk about this year’s budget. Kennedy said, “It does not sound good! I don’t think I need to tell you guys the forecast on that. With our budget time almost upon us we’ve got some serious talks to come between us and I hope we are all prepared to do that.”
   Despite Councilman Kennedy’s warnings, on top of their regular School Board bills, the Board approved $50,000 in spending this month.
Although the 50 grand sounds unreasonable for one month, it wasnecessary money. Ten thousand is the result of an oversight to audit the High School's activities account for the school year 06-07 and another 10 thousand for last year (07-08) which will be performed on schedule.
   Luttrell reported to the Board last week, “Each year it is required by law that the High School activities account be audited.” Luttrell said that this account has not been audited for the last two years. The Miller/Foley group, which is currently performing audits for the town of Colonial Beach, quoted a price of $20,000 dollars to complete both years’ audits of the High School activities account. When asked if there was money to pay for these audits, Director of Finance, Barbara Worrell replied, “We have to, yes.”
   The other 30 thousand will go towards three broken heat pumps. As reported last week the High School is approaching the 20 year anniversary of graduating students and many of the heat pumps in use are original equipment. In recent months the school has experienced on average, one heat pump breaking a month.
   During the work session the Board discussed soliciting bids on replacing heat pumps in groups of 2, 4, 8, and so on as well as possible financing that contractors would offer.
At Last week's regular meeting Mr. Luttrell reported that the bids where not back yet but that there were three units broken. Luttrell suggested replacing those three immediately while waiting for bids to come in.
   Barbara Worrell was consulted on the cost of replacing the units. She stated that it has run around 10 thousand for one unit each year but said that this figure included a crane fee. Replacing three units at one time would save considerable money for the crane and she estimated less than 30 thousand as a total. Worrell reported that the money was available in construction funds to cover this expense.
   After much discussion the Board moved to replace only the three broken units not to exceed $30,000 using the vendor who has provided the School service in the past. The Board decided to contract for only the three units so they could continue to negotiate for a lower price on the rest of the units needing replacement.

Linda Farneth


 

Coach “Big Keith” Dickerson back on the court after reinstatement

Just after the School Board adjourned its work session on January 14th Athletic Director Jeremy Jack of Colonial Beach approached Chairman Tim Trivett to discuss an incident concerning the game between the Colonial Beach girls’ basketball team and the Caroline County girls' basketball team.
At the January 14th basketball game Coach Dickerson removed the girls' basketball team from the court and took them to the locker room for their protection, according to witnesses. The incident that led to this decision is not the first incidence of violence that the team has encountered while playing Caroline County, according to Coach Audra Lewcus, JV Coach for Colonial Beach.
“You don’t see the things our girls put up with when we go away. You thought this was bad? You should have been with us when we played at Caroline.  They pushed, they shoved, they cursed us, you know what, our girls came out composed and they played the game the way they were taught to play. We teach them to play with dignity.”
During the game in question witnesses say that a player from Caroline County repeatedly attacked one of the Colonial Beach players, Danielle Galloway. It was reported that the referees did not make any calls or attempt to stop the fight and that Galloway put her arms up and walked away to avoid getting in trouble.
Coach Dickerson’s decision to remove the team from the court prompted the decision by the School Board to suspend him. According to Athletic Director Jeremy Jack, he made the call informing Dickerson of his suspension but he did not make the decision himself.
Many people consisting of students, staff and citizens appealed to the board during last week's Regular School Board meeting describing Coach Dickerson as a caring coach who not only cares about his students' abilities on the court but cares about their future and the direction they are heading in life.
Mr. Galloway, Danielle's father said, “There was a fight, the referees let the game get out of control right away. The girls [from Caroline County] were pulling on our girls shirts, the referees didn’t call it, it was brought to the referees' attention several times in that first minute or so and one referee even told the girl [who brought it to his attention] “Well that’s not my call that’s the other guys call.”  
Galloway said he was there and he felt the coach made the right decision. He said, “Coach Dickerson has been a wonderful coach to all the youngsters, I hate to see him suspended for something he did out of care for these players. He was genuinely concerned about their well being; he wanted to protect our girls so he sent them in the locker room.”
Coach Audra Lewcus asked the board, “When it comes to telling someone they are insubordinate when they are looking out for the safety of our children; when is it that the safety of our children doesn’t come first?” Lewcus explained that Dickerson was the only father figure some of these girls have.
She said, “When you make a decision like that, [to suspend a coach]  it doesn’t just hurt one person it hurts everybody, it hurts the girls, it hurts the school, it hurts the community and it hurts me, because I love this school.”
After a closed session lasting two hours for this and other matters, the Board announced Coach Dickerson’s Re-instatement.

Linda Farneth

 

The Miracle on First Street

Dee Seeber first approached the Board at the November 12 School Board Meeting. She began her presentation by saying, “2009 will mark the 20th reunion of the first graduating class from Colonial Beach High School. The school opened its doors, on time, I might add, in September, 1988 and was dedicated by the honorable Charles Robb, former Governor and Senator of Virginia.
The School was built with private money raised to the tune of 750 thousand dollars to pay interest on a literary fund loan. With the approval of our Council at that time the town’s people embarked on a five year fund-raising drive which unified this town beyond anyone’s imagination.”
Seeber envisions an event to correlate with the 1989 graduating class reunion that would allow the entire town to join in the celebration. As far as anyone can determine, no other school has ever been built strictly with citizen donations. Seeber believes the whole town should be allowed to participate in this historic moment in history.
At the December 3rd work session Mrs. Seeber came to the board with a progress report. She outlined various ideas on how to raise money for the event. One idea is to draw from her and other’s old scrapbooks to compose a record of events leading to the opening of our high school through pictures.  The “Memory Book” would be on sale for a nominal fee with the proceeds going towards the event.
Mrs. Seeber asked the board for permission to draw from the Colonial Beach Education foundation which was used to build the school. $5000 was set aside to for maintenance of the plaques and the different recognition articles in the school. Seeber is proposing to draw a minimal amount to cover start up costs which would be replaced with funds raised from the “Memory Book” and other fund raising endeavors.
Back in the first yearbook in1989 the graduating class described the High School as the “Miracle on first street”, Seeber believes this would make a great theme for next years event. Seeber believes the committee members should meet, assign each member a task and then “every one troop off and do what they need to do”. Seeber does not want the committee to get bogged down in meetings and is making every effort not to schedule the event in conflict with SOL testing or other key events in town. As of last week Seeber was looking at the weekend of May 30th.

Linda Farneth

 

Congdon talks about Reality Store for schools

At the last regular School Board meeting member Anne Congdon introduced a program called the Reality Store to be brought up for discussion at the December work session.
The program was designed by The Virginia Cooperative Extension to comply with VA. Code Section 22.1-200.03B; which directs the Virginia Board of Education to “establish objectives for economic education and financial literacy.”
The program would require no money from the school's budget but would, however, require the time and effort of 20 volunteers.
The Reality Store would be a workshop with tables set up to represent different financial institutions such as the bank or IRS, financial obligations, for house, car payments, or credit cards and various retailers. Each student would be allowed to select a career or be appointed one. They would be assigned a family and be given monopoly money or a balance sheet to represent their earnings.
Students would be required to visit the various stations and make a purchase, learn to balance their money and make it last for one month, as well as one year. Students would also be taught the value of higher education by learning to include tuitions in to their budget.
The VCE has reported success in many areas
One successful program’s evaluation showed 89% found that their future occupation is tied to their current school performance and community involvement. 98% said they would plan for higher education. 80% felt they needed to change the way they spend money on incidentals. 85% said the program gave them more awareness of how to make smart financial decisions. 95% were motivated to open savings accounts.
Congdon’s motivation for this and two other programs comes from her knowledge of the Town's new Comprehensive Plan that is being worked on now. In it some alarming statistics affecting our younger population sparked her concerns.
Information from discussions during the revamping of the Comprehensive plan state that the largest exodus from Colonial Beach are those between the ages of 18 and 44 and that the majority of the Town’s residents have either only a high school diploma or have dropped out between 9th and 12th grade, said Congdon in her report. She also found that college students are not allowed to apply for government subsidized housing such as Riverwood. “Which means," Congdon said, “if you are living in Riverwood and decide you need to further your education to better provide for your family, you lose your housing”.
Congdon asked that the Board put discussions on the table for next month concerning the Virginia Individual Development Accounts (VIDA) Program and the Virginia Enterprise Initiative.
VIDA allows qualified parents to save money for a house, business or education and will match their savings two dollars to every one dollar saved up to $4000.
The Virginia Enterprise Initiative provides $35,000 business start up funds for minorities, low income and women for particular businesses, excluding restaurants.
Among many other items of concern Congdon responded to was a recent comment from one of her colleagues saying she takes the education in our schools too personally. Congdon explains, “I take it very seriously that we as a school directly impact the future quality of life for our students and the families they will have”.
In response to her using her own children as examples she said, “Although my children do not always appreciate being used as an example, it would be an invasion of privacy to use other parents and children as a reference.”
Congdon feels she won her seat on council for the privilege of representing her constituents and says she is obligated to ask questions on their behalf.

Linda Farneth

   

 

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