School Board: Meals for all Pulaski County students to be free this year

Student breakfasts and lunches at all schools in Pulaski County will be free this year. The media center / library at the new middle school will be named for a deceased longtime educator. And plans for the disposal of surplus property at both of the old middle schools were approved by the School Board during their monthly board meeting.

Board members unanimously approved the recommendation by Director of School Nutrition Ethelene Sadler to approve participating in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) that allows school divisions to offer breakfast and lunch to all students at no cost.

Schools that have 40 percent of more of their enrollment who are eligible for free meals can participate in the program. County participation in the program began with the 2015-16 school year.

Since then all other schools have began participating except for Dublin Middle and Pulaski County High School.

With the merger this school year of the two middle schools and with PCHS now meeting the required eligibility provisions, all school students in the county can receive free meals.

“I know CEP does have a negative side to it because our participation does attest to the high poverty rate in our district,” Sadler told the board. “But at the same time it provides an opportunity for us to serve more of our students meals and we have they all take advantage of this service that we will provide.”

Robinson District School Board member Dr. Paige Cash asked Sadler is she had seen an increase in the number of students eating breakfast and lunch because of the CEP program. Sadler answered that she had.

“I think we all can agree that a fed child is a child who is ready to learn and ready to participate in sports, the classroom and everything else,” Cash said while thanking Sadler for her efforts on the program.

Resolution Honoring Joe Reed

Joseph Elwood Reed was a career educator in Pulaski County Public Schools for 47 years before he passed away Nov. 5, 2017.

The School Board voted unanimously Tuesday to name the media center / library at the new Pulaski County Middle School in his honor.

Reed served as a classroom teacher at Dublin Middle, as an administrator at the old Northwood Elementary, Dublin Primary, the former Newbern Elementary, Fairlawn Cooperative Transition Program, Pulaski Middle and Pulaski County High School prior to his death.

He was involved with a variety of community service organizations during his life, including being a member of the Board of Directors of the Fine Arts Center of the New River Valley, member of the Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce Community Attitude Quality of Life Committee, member of the New River Community College Board of Directors, Vice-Chairman of the Town of Pulaski Recreation Commission, Chairman of the Pulaski County Library Board, President of the Pulaski County Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and Chairman of the Emergency Needs Task Force.

He also served his community through providing numerous hours of volunteer service at the Ratcliffe Transportation Museum, sponsoring the Black History Club at Pulaski County High School, mentoring young men and women in the community, and personally purchasing and donating numerous books to promote literacy for students attending schools where he worked.

The resolution states that Reed’s name “will always hereafter be known to every student of Pulaski County Public Schools and associated with their pursuit of the knowledge and skills necessary to lead successful and productive lives.”

Surplus DMS, PMS Property

Chris Stafford, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Business Operations, presented a plan to the board for disposal of surplus property from both Pulaski and Dublin middle schools.

“As soon as the move to Pulaski County Middle School is completed, school system staff will begin the process of disposing of all unused property currently house at both old middle schools,” Stafford explained. “This will include property such as classroom furniture, desks, chairs, instructional equipment, kitchen equipment and may other types of items.”

Stafford said all personal property housed at the two schools would be sold publicly on GovDeals.com – an online surplus bidding website for governmental agencies – or transferred internally to another school if an item is usable.

Sell of Mobile Classrooms To Pulaski County

Stafford told the School Board that Building Bridges Child Development Center had approached Pulaski County requesting a donation of two of the mobile classroom units located at the old Dublin Middle School.

The County, Stafford said, is asking the school system to expedite the disposition of these two mobile units at DMS for the benefit of Building Bridges.

Stafford said given that school system staff has no plans for the mobile units, which are approximately 20 years old, and recognizing the shortage of childcare services in Pulaski County, the recommendation is that the School Board waive the requirements of school policy and sell them to the County of Pulaski for a total purchase price of one dollar.

He added the responsibility and cost of removal of these units will be with Building Bridges Child Development Center and/or the County, and not the school system.

The board approved the sale.

School Board approves Joint Resolution on Capital Needs Funding Plan

The School Board gave its approval to a joint resolution establishing a funding plan to tackle the school system’s Capital Improvement Plan featuring nearly 60 projects totaling $16,441,298.

Their approval Tuesday followed approval last month by the Board of Supervisors.

The funding plan allows for the school system to continue to use unused carryover funds from its annual operational budget, revenues received from cigarette taxes collected by the county and portions of future school debt payment retirement.

By MIKE WILLIAMS, The Patriot