Schools plan for smaller projects
Posted: October 9, 2012
The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER — The city school division will put in four elementary modules, renovate its bus facility and add card readers and security cameras at some elementaries as part of its Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).
At a Winchester School Board meeting Monday, the division approved an appropriation for the current school year of about $1 million in minor projects. Major projects in the CIP, such as building a replacement John Kerr Elementary School, will be finalized later in the year.
As part of the CIP, four modules — at a total cost of $250,000 — will be placed at one of the division’s four elementary schools.
“Quarles looks like the real candidate now,” said Kevin McKew, executive director of the division.
He said it isn’t clear whether the modules would go in this year or next. Quarles will also get $200,000 in new carpeting this year.
Officials will also spend $250,000 retrofitting the division’s transportation facility off Cork Street and $50,000 adding security measures at certain schools.
About $100,000 will go toward improving heating, ventilation and air-conditioning units system-wide.
Katie Bochert, president of the Handley High School Marching Band Boosters, appealed to the board about getting new uniforms for the 50 or so band members.
Handley last purchased band uniforms in 1998, when it spent about $49,000 on 108 uniforms.
A uniform costs between $250 and $350.
According to Bochert, the uniforms’ collars are worn; the school’s white initials are stained; there’s fraying on many of the jackets, the pant legs and the buttons; the hats are broken; the plumes are damaged; and many of the pants have broken side zippers.
“They don’t even look decent anymore when they go out,” Bochert said after the meeting. “For them to walk out and feel less than pride, it’s awful.”
Added treasurer Kim Oliveto: “We have bands in our own hometown that have better uniforms than us.”
This year, 59 teachers, administrators and staff left the division due to retirement, resignation or termination.
The division continued to face challenges in recruiting and hiring qualified candidates in several critical shortage areas such as high school and middle school algebra, English, English as a Second Language and special education.
This year, teacher turnover was at a rate of 9.6 percent, or 32 of 335 teachers.
The rate was a bit higher than the 8.5 percent and 8.6 percent of the last two years, but much lower than in the years from 2002 to 2009, when turnover ranged from 10 percent to 16 percent (in 2005-06).
Present at the meeting were Chairman John Bishop, Vice-Chair Melvin Thomas, Sharion Poston, Mary Margaret Wise, Erica Truban, Allyson Pate, Cynthia Ford, Vincent DiBenedetto and Richard Bell.
— Contact Rebecca Layne at email@example.com