Spotsylvania school officials schedule community forums on superintendent search

by | Apr 12, 2024 | ALLFFP, Schools & Education, Spotsylvania

Spotsylvania County Public Schools will host four community forums and provide an online survey in an effort to give residents input in the search for its new superintendent.

The school division announced Friday that on April 16 at 6 p.m., forums will be held at Post Oak Middle School and at Mount Hope Baptist Church, located at 6823 Harrison Road.

On April 17 at 6 p.m., forums will be held at Cedar Forest Elementary School and Chancellor High School.

A translator will be available upon request for any of the community forums. An online survey in English and Spanish will open April 15 and close April 28.

“Our goal is to identify a leader who will lead with a vision and strive for excellence,” School Board Chair Lorita Daniels said. “This is a critical decision for the division, and the board is committed to hearing from the community.”

A search firm hired by the school board, BWP & Associates, set a timeline to announce the new superintendent to replace the fired Mark Taylor by June 17.

Through the public engagement process, search firm leaders Wayne Harris and Kevin Castner aim to learn the strengths, needs and issues of SCPS so they can accurately describe those traits to potential candidates.

The firm also wants to help the school division build community understanding and gain support for the process.

“There is no decision more important than choosing the best superintendent to lead Spotsylvania County Public Schools,” Daniels said. “To ensure that our superintendent search process is inclusive, we invite the school community and the broader community to participate in the online stakeholder survey and the community forums.”

In addition to the forums and survey, Castner and Harris will also interview focus groups consisting of stakeholders to develop a profile of the leadership characteristics desired in the next school chief.

For more information and a link to the survey, visit https://www.spotsylvania.k12.va.us/page/superintendent-search.

The school division also announced Friday that the school board will hold a work session Monday at 6 p.m. to preliminarily approve its fiscal year 2025 budget. School officials said in a release that the priorities for the meeting Monday include a salary increase for staff.

The increase was made possible after the board of supervisors granted $3.1 million to match the state’s proposed cost of living raise for school staff. Other priorities include providing additional classroom, special education and English Language Learners support as well as ensuring school facilities and equipment are maintained and updated.

Daniels and Vice Chair Nicole Cole both expressed disappointment that more of the school’s nearly $47 million gap in local funding was not addressed by the supervisors’ real estate tax rate decision on Tuesday. But Daniels noted there is hope for additional funds from the state. In the meantime, the school board is looking to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the board of supervisors to establish a funding formula for the future.

Daniels said the MOU would “enable the school board to better plan and create future budgets to ensure we are meeting the needs of students, planning for growth and retaining and recruiting high-quality teachers.”

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