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Kilbourn’s committees report to King George School Board

Effort designed to overcome the local press instead details numerous administrative shortcomings

The King George School Board heard from four ad hoc advisory committees last week and will hear from the remaining four this week.
School Board member Payne Kilbourn had introduced his idea to establish a slew of committees last June when he was disappointed with the adoption of the current year’s funding for the School Board budget, which was established by the Board of Supervisors this past spring.
Kilbourn’s purpose for the ad hoc committees was to evaluate the performance of the division in various areas and provide an analysis on whether more funding is needed.  
The committees were part of Kilbourn’s plan to overcome the local press, originally outlined at a meeting on June 11.     
In June, Kilbourn said his committee idea was part of his plan to combat what he described as the School Board’s failure at “convincing the community and the Board of Supervisors that more funding is required.”
Kilbourn personally advocated for a 35-percent increase in the county’s real estate tax rate during county deliberations the previous year.  The increase would have gone exclusively to the School Board to enable increased expenditures.
An email to the county invited Board of Supervisors to attend, but schedule conflicts kept them from attending.  
School Board Chairman Dennis Paulsen was also absent, with Lynn Pardee missing the beginning of the meeting and Renee Parker leaving early.  
COMMITTEE REPORTS    Kilbourn’s main thrust for the committees was to diminish the influence of reports in the local press critical of the School Board’s last huge budget request that asked for 25 percent more local funding from the county.
The reports indicated that some of the committees took a comprehensive and very thorough approach, while others were more cursory in the examinations of their assigned areas.
But, taken as a whole, the conclusions from the first of four committees provided a measured evaluation.  
The slides and summaries from the committee reports presented on December 3 can be found online at our website www.journalpress.typepad.com. Here’s a quick snapshot from last week’s School Board meeting:  
~ Business Operations and Finances – Committee members Kathy Clark, Scott Buckles and John Rinko told the School Board that this is not the year to expect substantial budget increases.  Instead, they said this is the year to develop priorities, review processes and establish effective lines of communication.
They stressed the need for the School Board to prioritize its funding needs.  They also noted a need for the division to work with the county administration earlier in budget process and to find ways to increase productivity without requiring additional funds, including.
~ Operations of the School Board – The committee was tasked to review and evaluate the performance of the school board, including its programs, policies, work schedule and organization.  
Committee members June Drake and Alison Daughtridge said they eliminated the committee’s task having to do with a review of the School Board’s compliance with policy and statutory requirements.
Instead, they reviewed minutes of meetings and some position descriptions, along with providing results of an emailed survey with responses from 27 people, which they accurately described as “Not statistically significant sample.”  
Nonetheless, that survey led them to recommend, in part, that more communication be provided with parents, students, teachers, the Board of Supervisors and the press. Click Here to find the report. It can be downloaded as a pdf or viewed as a movie.

~ Buildings, Equipment and Transportation – This committee’s executive summary by members Cathy Binder and Scott Such stated, “The single biggest problem the committee identified was a gross lack of long term planning and budgeting.”
They praised Supervisor of Facilities Don Hall and Supervisor of Transportation Ray Newton, saying, “both individuals are exercising due diligence with their responsibilities and are obtaining the best services possible for the students and taxpayers of King George County with the resources provided to them.”
But the report went on to cite shortcomings by unnamed others, saying, “Examples of deficiencies in communication, maintenance, repair, renovation, operation, new construction and the budgeting process are too numerous to identify in a two page report or twenty minute presentation.”  Click Here to find the executive summary. You also read the full report.

~ Student Support Services – Committee members Stephanie Hornbaker, Jim Moreland and Lorie James were tasked to review and evaluate student guidance, health and social services.  Their report concluded, in part, that guidance programs should be standardized across elementary schools, with an increase needed in programs on bullying, anger management and motivational activities, and that medical equipment and supplies need upgrading.  Also, an increased emphasis should be placed on vocational planning at the high school. Click Here to find the reports.

Four more committees will be heard from this week on Wednesday, December 9, beginning at 4:00 p.m. following our publication.

By Phyllis Cook, Staff Reporter

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