News and notes from W-JCC School Board meeting

Williamsburg-James City School Board met Tuesday night in James City County. Six board members were present. The Powhatan seat remains open.

Here's some highlights from this week's meeting:

  • More than 20 people commented during a public hearing for the school board's open seat in the Powhatan-JCC district. Joe Fuentes resigned from the board in January. The board received roughly seven applications for the open position, with some having education experience. 
  • Division superintendent Steve Constantino presented his preliminary budget for the division to school board members. Some priorities for W-JCC Schools had to be cut due to a shortfall in state funding of about $2.9 million for the division.
  • Two speakers during the board's public comment period spoke out against the division's planned four middle school, saying the new school location at Ironbound and Longhill roads is not a good one, the project is too expensive and a waste of taxpayer money. 
  • Another speaker told board members about a harrowing bullying experience she said her daughter had as a student at Clara Byrd Baker Elementary School. Sandra Magda told board members her daughter was "told and made to feel like she was worthless for three months, then physically assaulted." The mother asked the board to improve conditions at the school, and make sure this never happens to another student.
  • School board members approved changes to its Program of Studies, or handbook of courses available to division middle school and high school students, at the meeting. 
  • During school board member comments, chairman Jim Kelly said members are heading to Richmond this month to talk with legislators about the steady drop in its funding of public education for localities like Williamsburg and James City County. School boards from dozens of divisions in Virginia have called on legislators to fund public education at higher levels this year. 
  • To view the board's agenda, or watch a video of Tuesday's meeting, go to the division's website, www.wjccschools.org, click on the School Board tab, scroll down to 'Board Docs," to enter the public site and click on the meeting date.  
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