††††††††††† The Alleghany County Board of
Commissioners and the Alleghany County Board of Education held a joint session
††††††††††† Present:† Chair Eldon Edwards, Vice-Chair Warren
Taylor, Commissioner Graylen Blevins, Commissioner
Charles Joines called the meeting to order at and asked for a moment of silence.
Charles Joines explained the purpose of the meeting is to present facility options to the Board of Commissioners.
Chair Eldon Edwards called the meeting the order for the Commissioners.
Clarence Crouse made a motion to approve the agenda.† Betsy Dillon seconded the motion.†† Vote 5:0.
Duane Davis welcomed everyone to the
meeting.† He reviewed the current status
of the school system.† He talked about
population growth as well as new and expanded programs.† He further talked about creating facility plans
based on current needs and program expansions.†
He explained the process of starting to study about options to solve the
space-needs situation especially at
Dr. Julia Williams talked about reasons for these recommendations including programs mandated by the State, small population growth, Sparta Elementary School having the most severe needs concerning space and models for schools; PK-8th grade, PK-6th grade and 7th-8th grade, PK-5th grade and 6th-8th grade.† She stated that she will present four options for the Boards to consider.†
Dr. Julia Williams reviewed Option A
which will create a
Frank Williams displayed a drawing
Dr. Julia Williams explained the rationale, recommendations, benefits, concerns and a summarization for Option A. (see attached)
Dr. Julia Williams explained Option B will expand all PK-8 schools to accommodate the existing population.† She reviewed the rationale, recommendations, benefits, concerns and a summarization for Option B. (see attached)
Dr. Julia Williams explained Option C will build a new county-wide Middle School for grade 6-8 at a new site.† She reviewed the rationale, recommendations, benefits, concerns and a summarization for Option C. (see attached)
Frank Williams showed a color sketch of
another school that they were working on in
Dr. Julia Williams explained Option D
Frank Williams showed drawings of the proposed Option D and explained that this option will be a two-level facility and will be like two separate schools in the same facility.
Frank Williams explained the two-level concept in more detail and the number of potential classrooms.
Commissioner Warren Taylor and Dr. Williams talked about Option D providing enough space for the 7th-8th grade students.
Frank Williams explained that it is easier to control costs on a new building rather than making an old building look new and working to fit the needed amount of space into a certain area.
Chair Eldon Edwards asked why the 6th grade was omitted on Option D.
Dr. Williams explained that the area canít accommodate that many students.
Duane Davis stated that they had looked
at different school set-ups and which way the students perform better.† He stated that by splitting
Chair Eldon Edwards talked about the 6th
grade being included in Option D, overcrowding at
Commissioner Graylen Blevins asked about the size dimensions for 7th and 8th grade classrooms.
Dr. Julia Williams stated that 900 square feet for classrooms, 400 square feet for resource rooms and 1,200 square feet for classes like art and music is what is required.
Frank Williams pointed out that the PK classrooms must have a restroom in the classroom and another exit door.
Commissioner Graylen Blevins asked what the current enrollment is for the 7th-8th grade.
Dr. Julia Williams stated the numbers
she has shows 249 for 7th-8th grade with 101 at
Frank Williams stated he wouldnít recommend putting any more children on the site without additional property.† He talked about Charles Street is an accident waiting to happen where people come out of a building directly into the Street.
Frank Williams stated that if the other lot isnít purchased, then the road would be moved as far as possible from the school.† He reviewed the drawing showing where the road is being considered.
Commissioner Warren Taylor asked how big the playground areas will be.
Frank Williams explained the play areas are 130x70, 120x200 and 110x230.
Randy Baker stated that the road drawing includes the optioned property.
Randy Baker explained that they would keep moving the road farther from the school.
John Farrelly explained the
Duane Davis said that the State will provide money for a new principal.† He stated that they would have to look at the office area, and the separate school wouldnít have to have a total stand-alone office space.† He talked about how at least a principal, assistant principal and secretary would be required and possibly an additional person in the cafeteria.
Susan Murphy talked about two additional people for the media center.
John Farrelly talked about needing a maintenance person, finance person and an office staff person.
Jennifer Sturgill asked would the outlying schools lose people.
Duane Davis stated that he didnít think they would.
John Farrelly stated that he thought it would increase because adding more positions.
Faron Atwood talked about every class is pressed for gym time, computer time, et cetera.† He stated that he thinks this is a win-win situation for both age groups,
Rod Bost talked about the concept of the 7th-8th graders attending some high school classes.† He further talked about how the science department at the high school has a full schedule currently.
Sid Miller asked why a middle school
isnít being considered and doesnít see how Option D is better.† He further asked why more money is being
Charles Joines asked for public comments.
Regina Rector talked about liking the
idea of a middle school, never enough resources for extra help, putting all of
the 7th-8th graders at
Beth Templeton Phipps spoke on behalf of the PK-2 children.† She explained that there isnít enough room now, the smaller children are already exposed to 7th-8th graders activities, safety issues, preschool is not adequate now, the need for a place to play and considering the option for them to have their own computer labs, library and enrichment areas.
Misty McKnight talked about more programs the schools are offering to the lower grades, have two computer labs that they can use after 24 other classes have used them, when testing is going onóall of the spaces have to be used and everyone must be extremely quiet.† She talked about the PK kids donít have a gym or a multi-purpose room, no free space to reward kids with free time and lunch starts at 10:30.
Bill Caudill stated that he is here on behalf of the bus drivers in the County.† He talked about how the bus drivers arenít recognized, drivers being upset about bonuses given to teachers with nothing given to the bus drivers.† He stated that they want the support and recognition as being a vital part of the school system.
Tim Stamper talked about being stuck on patching space needs.† He talked about the need for a 30-year plan.† He stated that as a taxpayer, he is looking forward to having a building to be proud of.† He talked about proposals get made and chiseled down until it is embarrassing and the need to build something to be proud of.
Mitch Franklin stated that he
appreciated everyoneís hard work and echoes Duane Davisís comments about being
proud of the schools.† He further stated
that he is representing the kids that have been left out of extra
activities.† He talked about the
performance of Ashe and Wilkes county schools and
Gretchen Stafford said that she has just moved here, and this community doesnít want a middle school.† She talked about problems at middle schools.† She stated that it means something to go to a PK-8 school.† She further stated that everyone needs to do some more research on the middle-school idea.
Sherry Wagoner stated that children in Ashe and Wilkes counties are no smarter than our children.† She further stated that problems happen but not just because it is a middle school.
Holly Farr asked what happens when the increased school population goes to the high school.
Charles Joines stated that nothing is on the drawing board but this has been discussed.
Donya Joines stated that she attended a
middle school and a middle school is a good idea but donít forget about
Charles Joines stated that everyone will miss Mr. Howell, and the Board is aware of the problems with the gym.† He talked about the gym burned 37-38 years ago.
Phil Howell talked about the gym is a worthy request and students are at a big disadvantage to the other schools.
Sherry Wagoner talked about the need to
unite and stop being
Donna Evans addressed concerns about
the length of time children must spend on the bus to come to
Mary Teague stated that one reason they moved here was to get away from the large schools.† She talked about children lose 10 percentage points during transition.† She said there is a lot to be said about smaller schools.
Karen Tompkins stated that as a PK
Jennifer Sturgill stated that she isnít concerned about losing people, that her concern is losing positions and people canít do their best by doing more than one job.† She reminded everyone that education and children come first.
Gary West stated that these options
were quickly narrowed down.† He invited
both boards to come to
Eric Thomas stated that he is only here to support the middle-school concept.† He talked about two transitions is the best choice for the children.
Rod Bost talked about his concern for Option D in adding additional traffic, shared space at the upper and lower schools, canít do a lot for the accelerated students, play area, middle school sharing field space with the high school, end-of-course testing.† He talked about moving too quickly at Option D.† He further talked about the need to try to get the low-wealth funding.
Burr Bost asked what are the long-range growth projections in the 7th-8th grade area.
Duane Davis stated that 100 at this time and would have to add to that.
John Farrelly talked about how hard it is to analyze future growth.
Duane Davis stated that the point is well taken and the growth factor is figured into these plans and looking at potential programs.
Stephanie Blevins talked about people talking about what they think they know.† She further talked about transition doesnít have to be negative, the need for everyone to stop and listen, stop pitting schools against each other.† She gave reasons she is in support of a middle-school idea.† She stated that the time has come for a county middle school.
John Farrelly explained that these
space needs have been being studied for 1-1Ĺ years concerning
Melissa Vestal talked about being a ďtravelingĒ teacher for Spanish at the elementary schools.† She further talked about the middle-school idea offers more things.
Clarence Crouse thanked everyone for coming to this meeting and wanting to do something good for the children.† He explained that the Commissioners must finance any of these ideas, and they will do the best thing.† He stated that these plans are fairly new to everyone and nothing is no where near concrete.† He further stated that the Board of Education/Board of Commissioners hasnít even talked about these ideas.† He talked about the safety issues of the children and the new programs.† He stated that the Boards need to move quickly but also need to make the right decisions.† He further stated that he is very proud over the last few yearsí accomplishments.
Joel Souther thanked everyone for
coming.† He stated that this is the first
step in a long line of issues, and he wants to do what is best for every
Faron Atwood stated that he wasnít going to be wishy-washy on this idea.† He talked about the lower grades needing space.† He charged each citizen to make sure the Board doesnít do something like the gymnatorium.† He stated that if more community meetings are needed, then the Boards need to have them.
Betsy Dillon stated that this is a serious responsibility and a serious need.† She further stated that everyone needs to be bold and make the right decision with a lot of input from the communities.
Chair Eldon Edwards expressed his appreciation to everyone here tonight and it has been interesting to hear everyoneís comments.† He talked about the good education system that we have and the facilities will be in the best interest for the children.† He reminded everyone that the Board of Commissioners tried to do their best with no control on the school population.† He stated that there will be more meetings held on the space-needs options.
Regina Rector stated that the parentsí fear needs to be put to rest.† She asked that the Boards show how many teachers per student, how this will work for each school and any programs cut.† She further asked that this project be done the right way not be piece-milled together.
Chair Eldon Edwards stated that the School Board can provide the information that Ms. Rector asked for, and the Board of Education will have to make a decision on their recommendation.
Charles Joines stated that these options are still new to everyone because the options were presented to the School Board last Friday.
Commissioner Warren Taylor talked about this is an important issue.† He stated that regardless of which option is chosen, everyone needs to unite behind that option.† He further stated that in order for this issue to pass on a bond referendum, the tax-paying people have to be sold on this issue.
Commissioner Graylen Blevins stated
that he agrees with Faron Atwood about not being wishy-washy and everyone must
stand together.† He talked about not
Commissioner Ken Richardson stated that he didnít see any option that he likes.† He talked about this meeting has raised a lot of questions that hasnít been answered.† He further talked about not putting things off.† He said that he wants to correct the school situation for 25 years.
Chair Eldon Edwards reiterated the
Regina Rector stated that she doesnít think it will be a tough sell.
Chair Eldon Edwards stated that he hopes it is easy but it hasnít been an easy sell in the past.
Chair Eldon Edwards adjourned the meeting at .
Charles Joines adjourned the meeting at .
Clerk to the Board††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††