School Board: Playground nearer, meetings earlier

Excavators broke ground this week at the Rappahannock County Elementary School playground site, Stonewall-Hawthorne district board member Paul Brown announced at Tuesday night’s school board meeting – at which new Hampton district member John Lesinski was appointed the board’s chairman, board veteran Aileen Johnson its vice chairman.

Brown said that phase of digging drainage and preparing the ground should only take four days, weather permitting. The next step is mulching.

“There were a few minor issues,” Brown said, acknowledging that the project has taken much longer than expected to get started. “We were hoping to get done over Christmas break.”

Once the excavation and mulching is complete, Superintendent Aldridge Boone said, all that’s left is assembling the $38,000 worth of playground equipment bought from All Recreations Inc. – an all-volunteer job he said should take fewer than two days. However, when asked by Jackson district board member Amy Hitt, Boone was hesitant to say that the project would be completed by Feb. 1.

“We’re getting closer,” he said, thanking Brown for volunteering heavy-machinery work to help accelerate the final phase of the project. “We agreed to put a recognition plaque to recognize the donors that went above and beyond,” Boone said, adding that there will be a dedication ceremony to honor the community members and organizations that stepped up with funding when the need arose – when the project is completed.

Newly appointed Rappahannock County Schools Sports Association (RCSSA) president Amy Burnett welcomed the new board members – and thanked Johnson and Brown for their past support – before announcing that RCSSA is working with high school principal Robert Stump on an agreement to make changes to concessions operations for sports at the school. RCSSA will continue to run concessions until the end of the school year, Burnett said, then will manage the concessions stand in following years, allowing other nonprofit organizations to utilize concessions to raise money.

In addition to the new faces at the board table Tuesday night – with the addition of Lesinski, Hitt and Wakefield district board member Chris Ubben – there will also be a change in time: Monthly school board meetings will now start at 6:30 p.m., an hour earlier than usual. The next meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 14, in the RCHS Library.

“This train doesn’t stop, so we all have to hop right on it,” Lesinski said after his first board meeting as chairman. “And it’s not going to slow down for anybody.”

Committee appointments

Aileen Johnson was appointed Headwaters representative; Chris Ubben, Piedmont Regional Education Program Board representative; John Lesinski, Mountain View Governor School representative; Amy Hitt, Division Leadership Team representative; Ubben, to the Facilities Committee; Lesinski and Hitt, to the Strategic Planning and Policy Committee; Johnson and Paul Brown, to the Budget Finance Committee.

Budgeting begins

The School Board’s first public hearing on the budget is March 13 in the RCHS auditorium, and a joint meeting of the school board and board of supervisors is March 20 – also in the RCHS auditorium.