School Board Report – May 15, 2013

School Board Report for May 15, 2013.

Please be advised that unless otherwise noted, comments are not verbatim.

All members except Alyson Satterwhite, Gainesville, were present.

Business Partnership Awards

Awards were presented to the following businesses for their partnerships with PWCS:

  • Apple Federal Credit Union Foundation for its partnership with the Office of Professional Learning
  • Dollar Tree for its partnership with Osbourn Park High School
  • Volunteer Prince William and Battlefield Lodge #43/Fraternal Order of Police for its partnership with the Offices of Student Services and Special Education

Consent Agenda

The consent agenda was approved unanimously by all members present.  Mrs Satterwhite was absent.  The following items were on the Consent Agenda.

1. Designating September 9, 2013 as International Literacy Day

2. Renewing PWCS’s liability and property insurance contracts as follows:

  • VML Insurance Programs for $1,126,492
  • Wells Fargo Insurance Services for $262,862
  • R. Jackson Ratcliffe, Inc. for $20,444
  • continue to self-insure workers’ compensation and other items.

3. Allocating additional $1,375,000 received during FY 2013 due to lower than expected expenses and / or greater than anticipated receipts as follows:

  • $800,000 to provide partial support for Windows upgrade.  Funds will be disbursed to schools on a first come / first serve basis and will cover between 50 – 80% of the cost to upgrade or replace all school computers to a current, supported version of Windows.
  • $200,000 to purchase new musical instruments.
  • $375,000 to provide interim security entrances at selected schools.

4. Approving the Special Warrant for April 2013 Payroll

5. Approving the Disciplinary Hearing Minutes from April 24, 2013

Citizen Comments

Three citizens signed up to address the board, two spoke together

Citizen #1 & #2 – two students from Pennington shared their History Day projects.  Both students placed in the state History Day competition.

Citizen #3 – a parent spoke about her daughter’s experience a New Directions.

Regular Agenda

Approving revisions to the 2013 – 2014 “Code of Behavior”

The changes were approved by all members present. Mrs Satterwhite was absent.

Approving Language Arts textbook adoption timeline and textbook evaluation criteria

The timeline and textbook evaluation criteria were approved by all members present. Mrs Satterwhite was absent. Questions asked by board members prior to the vote include:

Chairman Johns – Was the list of committee members part of our packet?

  • Answer – We will double check and make sure you get that.

Mr Trenum – Can we have an update on the committee’s progress in the Fall?

  • Answer – Superintendent Walts – Yes.

Mrs Jessie – Is there a Reading Specialist on the committee

  • Answer – Yes. We will make sure you have the list of committee members and will identify Reading and ESOL specialists on that list.

Update on the Energy Conservation Program

School division staff provided an update on the Energy Conservation Program.  Projected savings for the 2012 – 2013 school year due to the Energy Conservation Program are approximately 12%.    Total savings to date are approximately $1,462,747.  Total projected savings for the 2012 – 2013 school year are $2,126,567.  As per the agreement with Cenergistic, 35% of savings are paid to Cenergistic.

The following questions were asked by school board members about the Energy Conservation Program:

Mrs Covington – When I look at the savings, does the cost of personnel get factored in?

  • Answer – It is calculated program costs.  The program has paid for itself and then some.

Mrs Covington – how much of that savings is shared with the schools?

  • Answer – we have plans to do so.
  • Answer, Mr Cline – We can look at that. 

Mr Trenum – Do we have the savings on a building by building basis?

Answer – Yes

Dr Ortigbe – This is an educational program.  For your experience, will the say arrive when we don’t need Cenergistic anymore?

  • Answer – We look forward to the day when we won’t need them anymore.  We may still need feedback from them on professional engineering endeavors as we grow, but look forward to the time when we no longer need their support.

Dr Otaigbe – What is the time frame for that?

  • Answer – We have a five year contract and then will be on a support contract.

Mrs Bell – Has there been any investigation into schools that aren’t savings as much to determine why?  Will those schools be bumped up in the CIP?

  • Answer, Mr Cline – Yes, but bumping something up in the CIP means bumping something else back.

Mrs Bell – Can we get that list and the savings by school?

  • Answer, Mr Cline – Yes.
  • Answer, Mr Beavers – we have also set aside $1 million a year for improvements that can be allocated to those schools.

Mr Keen – Patriot High School was designed and built to be energy efficient.  How has the program affected energy efficiency there?

  • Answer – There was a breaking in period for Patriot where systems were run at full capacity.  Now that the breaking in period is complete, we will be expecting savings of up to 25%.

Chairman Johns – When we first entered into the program there was feedback about imposition into classrooms.  Can you discuss that process and how that has gone?

  • Answer – We felt that this would be best implemented if we were open and approachable.  Each of the staff members assigned to this program are former classroom teachers.  We wanted faculty and staff to know that we would listen to them, be there for them, and adapt as needed to address their concerns.  As soon as we were able to demonstrate that, the concerns settled down.

Mrs Jessie – Since this is a site based program, will each site get a report on their site’s performance?  Is central office involved as well?

  • Answer – Yes.  We have seen a 20% reduction in energy costs at this building alone.

Mr Trenum – Regarding measurement of savings, will that be against pre-contract numbers or against first year?

  • Answer – Contract was baselines from pre-contract year.

First read of proposed revisions to policy on “Tuition” (Policy #346)

No questions

First read of proposed revisions to policy on “Student Registration and Withdrawal” (Policy #711)


Mrs Jessie – Regarding residency, I see that as a revenue issue.  Is there a way to monitor day cares etc.. to track that?

  • Answer – One of the things we did differently was to require in area resident AND out of area resident to sign form indicating residency.

Mrs Jessie – Is there a way to check that?

  • Answer – We are putting together a manual with recommended processes and procedures for verifying that.

Mrs Covington- If a family moves and only has one grading period left in the year, is there wording that allows them to stay for that last period?

  • Answer – that’s not a given.  We would have to work that on a case by case basis.

Approving proposed changes to policy on “Animals in Schools” (Policy #271)

No Questions.  Changes were approved with a unanimous vote of all members present. Mrs Satterwhite was absent. 

Approving the MOU between NOVA / NVCC and PWCS for dual enrollment for the 2012 – 2013 School Year

MOU was approved with a unanimous vote of all members present. Mrs Satterwhite was absent. 


Mr Trenum – Can you explain what this is and how it runs.

  • Answer – The program is expanding rapidly.  It allows students to take selected courses from NOVA for college credit.  It is aligned with HB 841. 

Mr Trenum – Does this prevent parents from enrolling their children in courses at NOVA independently?

  • Answer – don’t know.

Dr Otiagbe – I pulled this from the consent agenda because of concerns about how students are selected for or notified of this program.  Some school divisions actively recruit students for dual enrollment at their local community colleges.  Some school divisions will pay for any interested student to participate.  Do we have the money to pay for that and how do we select those students who can participate.

  • Answer – Currently students select themselves.  They must be Juniors or Seniors, must have parent permission, and must pass NOVA’s college placement exam.  As this program scales up, funding will be a major concern.  Our emphasis in the past has been on AP / IB courses and not dual enrollment at NOVA.  The impact of this program really won’t be seen until the 2014 / 2015 school year. 

Mrs Bell – This is separate from the Systemic Solutions program that is available in Manassas and Manassas Park?

  • Answer – Yes.

Mrs Bell – The courses that are offered here for dual enrollment are limited because of state laws governing teachers and certification?

  • Answer – Yes

Mrs Bell – NOVA works with us in providing placement exams to our students in their Junior Year, correct?

  • Answer – yes.

Mrs Bell – What percentage of students that we have take the placement exam pass it versus needing remedial courses? 

  • Answer – we can get that for you.

Mrs Covington – How many credits can a student get while in high school?

  • Answer – They can get up to 3/4 of a general education certificate.  The maximum number is 30 if all of the pieces come together. 

Mrs Covington – It is limited to specific grade levels, correct?

  • Answer – Yes, it is only available for 11th and 12th graders.

Mrs Covington – Does NOVA have agreements with colleges in our area, across the state, and in other states?

  • Answer – NOVA is a large system and multiple universities are in play. 

Mrs Covington – Do students have to travel to the NOVA campus for classes or are they done in their local high school?

  • Answer – that depends on the course they’re taking.

Chairman Johns – All 4 year college sin the state have agreements with NOVA to transfer credits and courses if the student obtains an associates degree from NOVA.

  • Answer – trick for well informed parents is acquiring credits towards degree your child will be seeking in college.

Mrs Covington – with dual enrollment, is there an agreement with the 4year college about tuition?

Chairman Johns – not that I’m aware of.

Mr Keen – can students take any of these classes online?

Dr Ortigbe – is this available in all high schools?

  • Answer – Yes, but only certain courses at certain schools.  What is offred varies from school to school based on course offerings, interest, and economics.  As the program is just beginning, we will see it expand.

Mrs Bell – is there a list of dual enrollment courses?

  • Answer – in the course catalog.

Mrs Bell – Regarding Mrs Covington’s question, we were told that Germana has an agreement with Mary Washington so that students obtaining an associates from Germana can get Germana’s tuition at Mary Washington.  Is that program here?

  • Answer – that’s an impressive program and not duplicated at NOVA, to my knowledge. 

Mrs Jessie – My sorority proves a scholarship each year to deserving students, but students aren’t aware of it and aren’t applying.  There is a report out of Stanford about students not taking advantage of scholarships offered there.

  • Answer – we do a good job notifying students of scholarships that are available.

Approving contract to upgrade HVAC equipment at Lynn Middle School.

Contract was awarded with a unanimous vote of all members present. Mrs Satterwhite was absent. 

Mr Keen – I want to thank the Superintendent for brining this forward,  Our old schools need to meet same energy efficiency standards as our new schools.

Board Comments

Mr Trenum – I had the pleasure of attending the groundbreaking at Haymarket Elementary.  Students and staff are very excited.  Message for seniors – graduation season wil be upon us soon.  Please don’t let up or do anything stupid.  Finish strong.  Last comment is on pools, “the last item I’d like to discuss has to do with swimming pools. The latest is that the school division has been planning on building pools at the next 3 high schools. I want to state for the record that as far as I am aware, we have had no discussions as a school board on that. I know I have no participated in any. So, before we go off and start talking about making plans, we need to make sure that we’re all on the same page. Like I said, that would be a decision that I don’t know that I’d be able to support, especially without a lot of other discussions between the county and other organizations within Prince William County.” {Editor’s note: items in italics are verbatim}

Dr Otiagbe – Over the past 9 year I have enjoyed working on this board.  We are a good school division and good school board.  I would like to propose that we have a retreat to discuss our vision for where the school division should go. 

Mr Keen – I echo Dr Ortigbe’s call for a work session establishing our priorities.  Want to thank the Principals and staff at Freedom, Belmont, Kilby, and Marumsco for meeting with me and bringing their leadership to this school division.  

Mrs Jessie – I was reminded that it is now the month of May.  To all teachers – this is SOL time.  We support and appreciate you.  That you to Head Start.  Their meeting is so professional.  Shout out to HR for the hard work you are doing now hiring new teachers.  

Mrs Covington – I attended the retired teachers association meeting They awarded three scholarships for students who want to be teachers.  

Mrs Bell – Congratulations to PWC SuperNova team.  We have over 1000 community partners.  I attended PWC Expo last weekend.  The program was incredible.  Question for Superintendent and staff – how many of our transfer students participate in athletics?

Chairman Johns – Congratulations and thanks to our business partners. We had a great turnout for the Haymarket Elementary groundbreaking.  “Also following on Mr Trenum’s comments about the pools / pool, there are no pools being considered at any of the high schools beyond the 12th high school. This board has not discussed it. I have no information that any member of our staff has discussed additional pools. Like Mr Trenum, I would have significant trepidation about a proliferation of pools beyond the 12th high school. So, to hopefully put some minds to rest, to my knowledge, that discussion has not taken place.”  {Editor’s note: items in italics are verbatim}


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