by AnnGardner Eubank
CLARAVILLE—With budget planning season in full swing for the upcoming 2023-24 school year, the Northumberland school board fielded several requests during a Monday, February 13, school board meeting.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, parent Brian Barnes spoke on behalf of a group of parents interested in the formation of a swim team for middle and high school students.
During his comments, Barnes noted swimming is an overall inexpensive sport to participate in, with expenses primarily being limited to swimsuits, goggles and transportation. He noted a partnership with the local YMCA for use of facilities would be manageable and ideal.
In addition to the importance of mastering the winter sport, Barnes noted there are already many students who participate in local summer swim competition teams, so the interest would be there. He said a formal proposal from a committee of interested parents would be ready by next month’s meeting and asked the board to keep the idea of a new team in mind as they plan for the upcoming budget.
Amy Fetter, a bus driver for Northumberland County Public Schools (NCPS) requested considerations as the board continues to budget for the upcoming year. Fetter said a fleet of bus drivers is preparing to retire as there is not really a whole lot keeping them there in terms of payment and benefits. Fetter asked the board to consider bus drivers as full time employees and to reward them with benefits in the upcoming year.
Fetter said bus drivers are responsible for more than just transporting kids to and from school. Bus drivers act as nurses, janitors, referees, counselors and countless other roles on their busses, she said.
Following the public comment portion of the meeting, finance director Tara Booth noted several items that are currently being looked into for the upcoming year’s budget. Booth said the board is looking into a salary increase of 5% plus a step for teachers, an increase to the Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School program budget for over $10,000, security officers at each of the schools and health insurance for bus drivers.
Director of Instruction Adam Letizia also proposed calendars for the upcoming school year. According to Letizia, District Three has been working towards all having similar start and ending dates for the upcoming year. According to the proposed calendar, NCPS would begin the . . . .
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