As renovations at Waynesboro High School are in full force for the summer, the school division waits patiently for the last piece to fall into place that will balance its 2019-2020 budget.
At the school board’s regular meeting Tuesday night at the Central Office, Waynesboro Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Jeff Cassell said that Waynesboro City Council approved the school board’s budget for 2019-2020 as presented, and the city did not provide any additional funds above what was budgeted.
So the school division is implementing staff cuts as planned, including 15 teaching positions and seven instructional aide positions that were vacated and will not be filled for the 2019-2020 academic year.
“In complete transparency, we’re probably still out of balance one position,” said Cassell.
However, the school division is expecting an upcoming resignation will resolve the situation so a teacher will not have to be laid off in order to balance the division’s budget.
“But we’re within one position of being where we need to be, and anticipate that we’ll be able to do that through the attrition process,” Cassell said.
Cassell said he appreciates the hard work of the division’s staff in working on the next academic year’s budget.
“It’s been a pretty challenging budget,” he said.
Cassell added that the 2019-2020 budget was as challenging as between 2010 and 2012 after The Great Recession when all school divisions across the U.S. faced challenging budgets.
Waynesboro Public Schools will not have to reduce class options to balance the budget, just increase class sizes for 2019-2020.
School board member Kathy Maneval asked what was the school division’s final average daily membership, or number of students, at the end of the 2018-2019 academic year. Cassell and Grant agreed it was 2,886.
Until July 1, William “Tim” Teachey is transitioning between his position as Waynesboro High School principal, which he held since 2008, and to Waynesboro Public Schools’ Director of Instruction, a position vacated by Sue Wright’s retirement.
“Both as the principal and as the Instruction Director, I’ve been involved in this pretty intimately,” said Teachey as he presented Waynesboro High School’s Program of Studies for 2019-2020 to the Waynesboro School Board Tuesday night.
The high school’s program, he said, will seek to clarify grade point average for students, and who ranks where in each class. Year-long courses attended by high school students, such as Shenandoah Valley Regional Governor’s School courses, will no longer be considered in a student’s GPA until the end of the academic year.
Added to the program will be a World Geography course along with the already existing World History option for freshmen.
The retirement of Carol Coyner, who taught history courses at Waynesboro High for 49 years, inspired a course name change to the high school’s African American Studies class, which will now be split into two courses known as Africana American Studies and the History of American Hip Hop. The new course names, according to Teachey, more so reflects the course Coyner taught.
“It’s an elective course that a lot of our kids are interested in,” Teachey said.
New courses include Astronomy 2 and Geology. Both courses are equivalent to Earth Science 2.
“And, then, probably the biggest change for us in our Program of Studies,” Teachey said, “there’s a new CTE course.”
Building Construction and Maintenance I and II will be offered at the school’s division new CTE annex, which will be housed in the former The News Virginian building at 1300 W. Main Street, just across Poplar Avenue from the high school.
“So it’s taking advantage of our new CTE building, it’s taking advantage of community connections that we have,” Teachey said of the new course offerings.
The courses will include safety and skill training.
For the initial year of the program in 2019-2020, the course will only be offered to 10th grade students at Waynesboro High, but later will be offered for 9th and 10 grade students.
“We wanted to be very intentional of the kids that we invited into the program. We don’t know our 9th graders really quite yet,” Teachey said.
He said the courses will allow for transfer to Valley Career & Technical Center “that will enable [students] very easily to get credentials.”
The program will allow a connection between students and the community by creating a way for students to venture out of the classroom and into the community.
Maneval asked if World Geography will be an alternative to World History for Waynesboro High freshmen, and Teachey confirmed that is true.
The school board will consider approval of the high school’s Program of Studies at its next regular meeting on July 9.