Following a candidate forum Thursday evening for which he was the only candidate present, lifelong Front Royal resident R. Wayne Sealock earned the endorsement of the Warren County Republican Committee (WCRC).
Nicholas L. Jaroma, a 2016 Christendom College graduate filed to run for the seat vacated by Scott Lloyd in March of this year but has since decided to withdraw from the race, according to WCRC Secretary Tom McFadden. Jaroma, chairman for the Happy Creek Magisterial District of the WCRC, confirmed to Royal Examiner that he planned to formally withdraw from the race.
Thomas H. Sayre, who has previously served on the Front Royal Town Council and as a former Shenandoah District Supervisor in Warren County filed with the Warren County registrar’s office to run in the special election but has since withdrawn from the special election.
Gene M. Kilby is the lone Democrat seeking the partial term.
The November winner will have two years to serve before the term expires McFadden explained. He told the room of around two dozen attendees that a list of questions had been presented to candidates so that they might have time to consider their position on each question.
Sealock, a retired law enforcement officer with over 30 years on the job, introduced himself to the audience as a life-long member of Front Royal, “born and raised on Prospect Street” who wanted to make things better. He told the audience he was a moderate member of the party, who leaned more conservatively on fiscal responsibility while having a broader view on social issues. Sealock forthrightly said that while he had voted for Democrats in the past, he had voted with his party for the last 15-20 years.
Sealock spoke of the loss of his wife and business partner, Sue Sealock, in March 2021. She ran Sue’s Sewing and Embroidery on Chester Street, which is now open again he stated. Wayne volunteers for several organizations: he is the current president of the Royal Police Foundation Board, president of the Front Royal Moose Lodge, and works with the Safe Surfin’ nonprofit, which strives to educate and protect youth from harm while using modern technology.
Asked by moderator Tom McFadden about the Front Royal EDA (FREDA) recommendation to bring data centers to the Town, Sealock said he had concerns about such a move, and felt the infrastructure to support data centers was absent. Citing the need for proffers that would have incoming data centers installing the needed infrastructure, he said it would likely be a “no” vote for him if he were on the council. “They are going to be obsolete in 15 years; I would vote against data centers.”
Sealock also answered questions regarding whether Front Royal is a business-friendly community, citing the rapid growth of Winchester (which has about twice the population of Front Royal) compared to the much-slower growth of the Town. “We’re sometimes digging too deep into pockets,” he said. Sealock said a local builder had recently mentioned to him that it cost $20,000 for hookups to water, electric and sewer for a building project in the town.
Asked about two separate EDA boards existing in the community, Sealock said it was redundant to have two entities working for the same goal. Were he elected, Sealock said there would be “a hard discussion” regarding the two separate boards. “It’s redundant and a waste of taxpayer money.”
As the recently created Front Royal Economic Development Authority (FREDA) is without an executive director since Front Royal Town Manager Steven Hicks, who served in that role, was terminated earlier this month, that discussion might develop organically before the November election occurs.
Vice-Mayor Lori Cockrell attended the event and asked Sealock how he might resolve conflict among other council members. She referred to the recent termination of Hicks, which was not a unanimous council vote. Sealock smiled and said, “We’d do what we’re doing right now. We would talk about it and work it out.”
He went on to say that he strongly believes that the taxpayers of Front Royal should not be on the hook for the costly fees paid to search firms when hiring the next town manager and town attorney. “Why use a headhunter at $25,000 or more? I think when council hires a town manager and a town attorney, they need to look at people from the town. There are qualified people, and the H-R Department should be the ones hiring new staff.
Town records indicate that the firm of Baker Tilly was paid $24,500 to find a town manager, and then an additional $24,500 was paid to the same firm to locate a town attorney. Many were puzzled by that move, as municipal attorneys are typically hired from a local pool, as they are familiar with the workings of the local government.
Moving on to the future of the downtown business district’s East Main Street, the lone forum speaker was asked about its future and whether it should become a pedestrian-only mall or remain as it currently is. Sealock said he believed a pedestrian mall or one-way traffic flow on Main Street would “not work.” To invigorate business downtown, Sealock said Front Royal must be marketed jointly by the council and the town’s tourism team. He also said that both big business and “mom-and-pop” entities could both be courted with success.
Regarding the sometimes-contentious working relationship between Front Royal and Warren County, Sealock told the audience he would like to see an appointed liaison for each panel that would work together to keep both groups of leaders updated and working together. Both municipalities could realize savings by pooling large purchases, such as vehicles.
Sealock said some ways that the two groups could work together might include improving parks (which are County-owned), establishing a youth center, fixing streets and perhaps co-sponsoring festivals that could be held downtown. Big projects, he said, might cause tax rates to increase, but he strongly believed that once the project is completed, the tax rate should revert to the previous level.
As a council member, he would work on bringing an additional grocery store into town limits. “One store simply isn’t enough to handle our population,” Sealock said.
Asked by an audience member about the council’s role in oversight of the Warren County School system, Sealock said he believed that per Va. Code, that was not possible, though if there were issues that needed addressing, he felt contacting the Virginia Department of Education and the Governor would be appropriate. Asked if he would use a council member seat as a “bully pulpit” on school issues, Sealock stated that he had, when his children were in school, addressed the school board at times, but did not indicate that he would speak from a “bully pulpit” if elected. Sealock did, however, voice his opinion on the current school schedule, which he feels should revert to a previous one. “Parents are spending a lot of money on daycare between the hours of 2:30 and 4:00. Some families are lucky enough to have two grandparents who can pick up children at different schools within a narrow time margin. “School schedules are a problem and need to revert to the old schedule.”
Given a few minutes at the conclusion of the forum, moderator McFadden asked Sealock to weigh in on “why Wayne Sealock for council” and why the WCRC should endorse him. The candidate told the group of about 25 that he was a Front Royal native who had been active in the town for years, that he came from a family of local law enforcement officers who had served at the town and county level, and that he truly cared about the Town of Front Royal and felt that it was something he was called to do. Sealock served as the chairman of the Town’s Board of Zoning Appeals for 17 years, before wrapping up that stint in April of this year. “I know the inner workings of the town,” he said.
“We have to protect our protectors,” he stated, referring to the fact that many Front Royal Police Officers were driving older police cruisers with 200,000 miles or more on them. When he was a law enforcement officer, police cruisers were often replaced after 60,000 miles. Cars with such high mileage are less reliable and could impede an officer needing to get somewhere quickly. He pointed out the quarry explosion that occurred on August 23, which necessitated officers arriving quickly. It bothers him, he said, that some Front Royal employees were driving new trucks purchased by the Town while much older FRPD vehicles, with higher mileage, were not replaced in the Town budget.
A short time after Sealock wrapped up his comments, committee members voted to endorse him as a candidate for the special election to fill Scott Lloyd’s unexpired term.
On November 8, voters will elect a new mayor and three council members, who will serve four-year at-large seats. Vice Mayor Lori A. Cockrell is the lone candidate on the ballot for the two-year term for mayor. Mayor Christopher W. Holloway, whose term expires Dec. 31, stated earlier this year he would not seek re-election.
The four candidates seeking three council seats are Joshua L. Ingram, Councilman Zachary W. Jackson, Councilwoman Amber Faith Morris, and H. Bruce Rappaport.
While the Front Royal Town Charter states that local elections are nonpartisan and that candidates do not represent any political party on the ballot, local Republicans typically do weigh in with endorsements; the upcoming election is no exception. In fact, the committee website lists all current council members, save Thompson, as Republicans. Morris serves as the vice chairwoman of the WCRC executive committee, and Jackson serves as treasurer.
Regarding the seat vacated when Councilman Joseph E. McFadden abruptly resigned during an August 8 council meeting, the panel met in executive session at the close of the Monday, August 29 meeting to get legal advice pertaining to setting a date for a special election to fill the seat.
The town has advertised for a person council would appoint to McFadden’s vacant seat while noting that the town would also seek to put the seat on a ballot in a special election on an undetermined date.
McFadden also has questioned the validity of his resignation, as previously reported by Royal Examiner.
Warren County owed over $1.5 million in delinquent personal property and real estate taxes
“Nothing is certain but death and taxes.” That oft-used phrase was penned by Benjamin Franklin in 1789, and it holds true today.
Taxes are something almost every citizen deals with. Taxes fund our government and the services it provides. In the Commonwealth of Virginia, residents pay federal income taxes, real estate taxes, and personal property taxes, among others.
Warren County is tasked with collecting both real estate and personal property taxes biannually. Most citizens get their payments in on time, though not everyone complies. Warren County Treasurer Jamie Spiker said in a recent interview that the COVID pandemic proved hard on many, and because of that, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) suspended its practice of placing holds on vehicle registration renewals of drivers that were delinquent on tax payments. Municipalities also stopped other collection efforts, such as placing liens on taxpayer bank accounts and on employers’ paychecks to tax-delinquent employees.”
Spiker said DMV holds will begin again in the Spring of 2023, noting that bank and employer liens were reinstated earlier this year. “Some accounts are hard to collect on if they are not employed in Virginia; they registered their vehicles in another state or in another name,” Spiker continued.
Regarding the delinquent personal property tax list, Spiker said, “Without giving actual information on specific accounts, some of the delinquents listed [on the delinquent personal property list] are either making payments, have Warrant in Debts, and/or DMV holds.“ She said some of those on the list have actually paid their back taxes since the list was produced on Oct. 3. Because of the additional monthly interest added to past-due accounts, Spiker said some balances on delinquent accounts that are making payments do not reflect much change.
As of Oct. 3, Warren County was owed over $266,000 in back personal property taxes, according to the Warren County Delinquent Personal Property database. The County has over $1.3 million in Real Estate taxes that remained uncollected as of that date. Warren County maintains a database that lists the unpaid amount for each real estate parcel by owner name and another list for delinquent personal property tax, also displayed by name.
As for real estate taxes, those accounts that are past due since 2019 were turned over to collection firms in 2022. The local firm Pond Law Group collects on past-due accounts whose last names begin with A-L. Richmond-based Taxing Authority Consulting Services (TACS) collects delinquent accounts whose last names begin with M-Z.
Ms. Spiker explained that once the collection firm gets a past-due file, real estate owners are contacted and asked for payment. Taxpayers have the option of paying fully at once or arranging a payment plan. If neither of those options is worked out, the firms begin the process that leads to a sale of the property to pay back taxes.
Tax auctions were not held in 2020 due to COVID, Spiker said, though they were restarted in 2021. There was one auction in 2021 and one in 2022. Moving forward, Warren County will have at least four delinquent property auctions annually, with each firm committed to having two per year.
Despite over a million dollars in real estate revenue remaining uncollected, Spike says she would love to have a collections person in the Treasurer’s office, something that has been requested for almost every budget year, though such a collections position has never been approved.
Spiker said of having an in-house collector, “I feel like the position would pay for itself.” The salary for such a position could range from $35,000-$60,000, depending on qualifications. She says if the position is not approved in the next budget year, she would pursue other options, such as hiring a part-time employee or switch to an agency that handles personal property as well as real estate collections.
With delinquent taxes for real estate alone north of $1.3 million, can the Warren County Board of Supervisors afford not to add a collections position?
Blue Ridge Wildlife Center Patient of the Week: Pileated Woodpecker
This female Pileated woodpecker came into care this week after a suspected vehicle collision.
She was having difficulty breathing due to bleeding in the lungs and she was suffering from head trauma. After 24 hours on oxygen support, this bird improved in demeanor and breathing.
Pileated woodpeckers are the largest woodpecker species in North America, with females reaching over 14oz in weight, 19 inches long, with a wingspan of 30 inches!
The majority of their diet is made up of insects, typically found in dead trees. Pileated woodpeckers leave rectangular holes in the trees that other birds later use as nests.
Woodpeckers have special and fascinating anatomy—they have extremely strong, chisel-like beaks designed for high-impact drilling.
Also, their tongues are incredibly long (almost a third of their body length) with barbed edges to help the reach deep into drilled holes to pull out tasty insects!
Check out this video, which shows the patient boring holes into a dead log in search of wood-boring insects, like grubs and ants.
This illustration by Denise Takahashi depicts a great example of a woodpecker’s hyoid apparatus, the cartilage and bone that support the tongue. In woodpeckers, the hyoid curves all the way around the back of the skull so they have plenty of room to store their long tongues!
We are happy to report that after a week in pre-release caging, this patient fully recovered and was released!
Looking for an easy way to help native wildlife? Become a monthly BRWC donor! For as little as $5/month, you can provide year-round, sustainable support that helps us fulfill our mission.
Buckle up and travel safely this Thanksgiving
For many Virginians, gathering with family and friends is the true meaning of Thanksgiving. Some will even travel long distances to share in these wonderful family moments. Just as important as it is to make sure those pies and casseroles make it to the dinner table safely, motorists also need to make their own safety a priority. Virginia State Police is reminding all drivers and passengers of all ages to buckle up this holiday weekend. Preliminary data show that 54% of those who have died in traffic crashes this year were not wearing a seatbelt or safety restraint.*
“The fact that more than half of those who have lost their lives in traffic crashes this year were not wearing a seatbelt is a tragic and inexcusable reality for Virginia,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Your family wants you to arrive safely, and clicking a seatbelt can help that happen. Virginia State Police and your loved ones want you to arrive at your destination safely – ditch distractions, comply with posted speed limits, never drive buzzed or drunk, and, again, always buckle up.”
To further prevent traffic deaths and injuries during the Thanksgiving holiday, the Virginia State Police will once again be participating in Operation C.A.R.E. – Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort. As part of the state-sponsored national program, state police will be increasing its visibility and traffic enforcement efforts during the five-day statistical counting period that begins at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022, and concludes at midnight Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022.
The 2021 Thanksgiving Operation C.A.R.E. initiative resulted in troopers citing 5,127 speeders and 1,565 reckless drivers statewide. Virginia troopers charged 65 drivers for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol and/or drugs and cited 477 drivers for failing to buckle up themselves and/or juvenile passengers.
There were five traffic fatalities during the 2021 five-day Thanksgiving statistical counting period and 12 traffic fatalities during the same period in 2020.
This year, the Thanksgiving Holiday C.A.R.E. initiative falls within the annual “Click It or Ticket” campaign. This enforcement and the educational initiative aim to further emphasize the lifesaving value of seat belts for every person in a vehicle.
With increased patrols, Virginia State Police also reminds drivers of Virginia’s “Move Over” law, which requires motorists to move over when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped alongside the road. If unable to move over, drivers are required to pass the emergency vehicle cautiously. The law also applies to workers in vehicles equipped with amber lights.
*Source: Virginia Highway Safety Office, Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. The percentage of crashes in vehicles equipped with safety restraints.
WCPS begins addressing instructional materials with sexually explicit content
Local school boards across the state have until January 1, 2023, to adopt either model policies from the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) that ensure parents are notified about instructional materials with sexually explicit content or their own policies, which “may be more comprehensive.”
Warren County Public Schools (WCPS) is working on its policy and procedure for notifying parents when instructional materials being used in the classroom have sexually explicit content and will specifically update Policy IIA-R of the Instruction section of the WCPS Policy Manual.
During the Warren County School Board’s Wednesday, November 16 work session, WCPS staff discussed Policy IIA-R and adding language to it that’s consistent with the VDOE’s “Model Policies Concerning Instructional Materials with Sexually Explicit Content.”
VDOE’s 10-page document details the policies the department developed as required by Senate Bill 656, which was enacted by the 2022 Virginia General Assembly, and became effective on August 4.
VDOE’s model policies say that parents will be notified at least 30 days in advance if any instructional materials with sexually explicit content will be used in their child’s classroom. Parents at that time can review the materials. The state policy says that school principals must maintain current lists by grade and subject of sexually explicit instructional materials on school websites.
Additionally, VDOE’s model policies note that provisions in the new state law “shall not be construed as requiring or providing for the censoring of books in public elementary and secondary schools, or the designation of instructional material as sexually explicit based solely upon the sexual orientation of the characters contained therein.”
School boards also should adopt policies “which empower parents to exercise their right to decide whether the use of sexually explicit content in instructional materials is appropriate for their child,” according to VDOE’s model policies.
The draft WCPS policy, which the school division’s attorney helped craft, closely follows VDOE’s model policies. For example, WCPS plans to use the same definitions for sexually explicit content, parent(s), and instructional material(s).
WCPS policy also coincides with VDOE model policies that say that at least 30 days prior to the use of any instructional materials with sexually explicit content, principals shall provide written notice to parents that “specifically identifies the instructional materials with sexually explicit content; informs parents of their right to review such instructional materials; and informs parents of their right to have their child use, in a non-punitive manner, alternative, instructional materials that do not include sexually explicit content.”
WCPS policy also says that principals shall provide online access for parental review of instructional materials that include sexually explicit content “unless not technically feasible or prohibited by copyright protection. Schools shall also have available at the school for parent review all instructional materials that include sexually explicit content.”
WCPS Superintendent Christopher Ballenger and WCPS Assistant Superintendents Heather Bragg and George “Buck” Smith asked for input from School Board members on the proposed WCPS policy and procedure.
“Let’s just make this as easy for parents as humanely possible,” said School Board member Melanie Salins about copyrighted materials that parents may want to review.
Ballenger said he’ll check with the school district’s attorney about what is allowable under copyright law regarding access to instructional materials with sexually explicit content, and what potential liability might exist for WCPS.
Ballenger also told board members that he has asked Bragg and Smith to put a committee together that will consist of an administrator, counselor, librarian, and teacher from each elementary, middle, and high school level. The committee members will discuss the process WCPS needs to have in place regarding notifying parents about any instructional material with sexually explicit content, he said.
Ballenger also said that WCPS staff might unintentionally “miss some things” when it posts online the list of instructional materials with sexually explicit content. To help minimize any oversights, the school district’s policy and procedure will include how a parent — who comes across such material that isn’t already listed on the WCPS website — might then bring it to the attention of WCPS staff for evaluation and action.
School Board Chair Kristen Pence (above) asked if the WCPS procedure would differ from a challenge that a parent might make to a book that he or she objects to and wants to be removed from a school. And she asked if the new procedure would just address how a parent would alert WCPS staff to potential sexually explicit content in instructional material that might need to be listed online.
Yes, said Ballenger, this policy is different than the challenge policy, and he pointed out that just because instructional material with sexually explicit content is listed online, that “doesn’t keep us from not using it.”
Bragg explained further that if WCPS staff happened to omit from the online list an instructional material containing sexually explicit content, a parent could bring it to their attention, then WCPS would decide if the instructional material meets the definition of having sexually explicit content. If it does, then the material will be listed online.
However, that material’s use would still be allowed in the classroom following the 30-day notice. Bragg said that if a parent doesn’t want his or her child exposed to it, “then we would have to find an alternative assignment or supplement material for that student.”
And if a parent still didn’t want the material being used at all, the parent could take it a step further and, under the WCPS challenge policy, request that the use of that instructional material be removed. “So, it’s kind of a little bit multi-stepped as to how far the parent wants to go,” Bragg said.
“I think the goal should be that the perception has to be open and to do whatever we have to do to get information to parents,” said School Board Vice Chair Ralph Rinaldi.
Ballenger said WCPS plans to “have a comprehensive list online” for parents to review. Bragg added that WCPS has no intention or reason to hide anything from parents.
Once something is identified and put on the list, “we want to be able to do whatever we can to give access,” Ballenger said. “We’ll work through whatever we need to work through.”
No action was taken on the work session item, which will be discussed again at a future School Board meeting.
To view the state’s model policies, go to: https://townhall.virginia.gov/L/GetFile.cfm?File=C:%5CTownHall%5Cdocroot%5CGuidanceDocs_Proposed%5C201%5CGDoc_DOE_6205_20220615.pdf.
To view the proposed WCPS policy, go to: https://go.boarddocs.com/vsba/warren/Board.nsf/files/CL2QNS69325E/$file/Policy%20IIA_revised_10_28_22.pdf.
In other discussions…
Regarding other work session topics, Smith provided the first reading of the proposed 2023-2024 school calendar; the second reading and discussion will be on December 7, and the recommendation for approval will be during the first January 2023 school board meeting.
Highlights of the calendar include:
- August 9, 2023 – First Day of School;
- September 14, 2023 – Parent-Teacher Conference;
- November 20 – 24, 2023 – Fall Break;
- December 22, 2023 – January 3, 2024 – Winter Break for students;
- December 22, 2023 – January 1, 2024 – Winter Break for WCPS staff;
- March 29 – April 5, 2024 – Spring Break; and
- May 23, 2024 – Last Day of School.
Among other work session items, the School Board also discussed the 2023 School Board meeting dates and times and received updates on grounds maintenance, the recent Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA) Delegate Assembly meeting, and the school district’s contract for hiring substitute employees.
VDOT: Warren County Traffic alert for November 21 – December 2, 2022
The following is a list of highway work that may affect traffic in Warren County during the coming weeks. Scheduled work is subject to change due to inclement weather and material supplies. Motorists are advised to watch for slow-moving tractors during mowing operations. When traveling through a work zone, be alert to periodic changes in traffic patterns and lane closures.
*NEW* or *UPDATE* indicates a new or revised entry since last week’s report.
*NEW* Mile marker 1 to 3, eastbound and westbound – Single lane and shoulder closures for inspection of Route 842 and Route 637 overpass bridges, November 23, from 8 a.m. to 12 noon.
*NEW* Mile marker 299 to 300, northbound and southbound – Overnight left lane closures for equipment unloading and barrier installation, November 20 – December 1 nights from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Route 55 (Strasburg Road) – Possible shoulder closures for utility work between Route 616 (Messick Road/Richardson Road) and Stoney Point Way, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. through November 30.
No lane closures were reported.
Vegetation management may take place district-wide on various routes. Motorists are reminded to use extreme caution when traveling through work zones.
Traffic alerts and traveler information can be obtained by dialing 511. Traffic alerts and traveler information also are available at www.511Virginia.org.
The VDOT Customer Service Center can assist with reporting road hazards, asking transportation questions, or getting information about Virginia’s roads. Call 800-FOR- ROAD (800-367-7623) or use its mobile-friendly website at my.vdot.virginia.gov. Agents are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Warren County School Board approves instructor rate for Right Turn Program
The Warren County School Board, during its Wednesday, November 16 work session, approved an instructor’s fee for a specific Warren County Public Schools (WCPS) drugs and alcohol education program and established a per-day rate for a certified substitute assistant principal.
School Board Chair Kristen Pence, Vice Chair Ralph Rinaldi, and board members Antoinette Funk, Andrea Lo, and Melanie Salins voted unanimously to approve the rates for both the Right Turn Program instructor and the certified substitute assistant principal position.
Specifically, the board approved adding a $150 per module instructor’s fee for the Right Turn Program, which is designed to educate students and their parents on the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
The Right Turn Program also explores the importance of goal setting and decision making, according to WCPS Assistant Superintendent for Administration George “Buck” Smith, who presented the item to the School Board for action.
“Students who are assigned to this program have received suspensions for drugs or alcohol School Board policy violations,” Smith explained, noting that WCPS previously contracted the service with a third-party vendor that is currently unable to provide it any longer.
“It is now being requested to in-house the instruction for this program and that the previously paid rate per module of $150 be approved for inclusion on the miscellaneous salary scale,” said Smith.
The complete program consists of six modules that are taught once per week — beginning at 6 p.m. at Diversified Minds — to classes of 8-10 students and their parents or guardians. Smith said WCPS had faced challenges with some previous instructors being unable to teach during the allotted time.
Students receive completion certificates that become part of their behavior file. Cohorts of the program run consecutively, he said, adding that the program “goes deeper” than what is covered in a health class, and the instructor facilitates dialogue and conversation related to the modules.
Participation in the Right Turn Program is a requirement when a student violates drugs or alcohol policy, said Smith.
WCPS Superintendent Christopher Ballenger told the School Board that the class has filled up, but no one has taught it. “We need to have a set teacher when we require that the course be taken,” Ballenger said. “It’s not fair to the families when they show up, and there’s no one there to teach the class.”
When questioned by board members about instructor qualifications for the program, Smith answered that the instructor could be someone trained in counseling, but the person does not have to be a certified counselor. Nevertheless, he added that WCPS plans to fill the position with someone with a background in counseling.
The School Board also unanimously approved establishing a $275 per day rate for a certified substitute assistant principal.
WCPS Personnel Director Shane Goodwin explained that WCPS has a board-approved established rate for a certified substitute principal set at $350 per day, but no certified substitute assistant principal rate exists for the school division.
“In order to meet the needs of our schools during an interim time period, we ask that the board establish a certified substitute assistant principal rate set at $275 per day,” Goodwin said prior to the board’s 5-0 vote to approve it.
In another action, the School Board approved the $28,465 purchase of Mastery Connect, which WCPS Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Heather Bragg described as the assessment platform that WCPS uses to administer benchmark assessments.
“Mastery Connect is a competency-based learning platform that helps teachers identify students’ levels of understanding, target students for intervention, and inform instruction,” Bragg told board members, who approved WCPS’s purchase of the platform for the 2022-2023 school year.
The last board-approved action item also was presented by Bragg, who asked board members to pass a motion that WCPS accept the Virginia Tiered Systems of Support (VTSS) Grant Award in the amount of $24,000 for 2022-2023 and that WCPS request an increase in appropriations in the instructional category from the Warren County Board of Supervisors.
The VTTS Grant Award provides WCPS with funding to support the implementation of division initiatives related to academic achievement, attendance, positive behavior, and family/community engagement, said Bragg.
VTSS is a collective of organizations funded and led by the Virginia Department of Education to support school divisions with implementing and sustaining data-driven, evidence-based decision-making practices to meet the needs of all students. WCPS has partnered with VTSS and received a yearly grant award for over a decade.