The Chesterfield County Public Schools Board has new leadership.
Since all five of the board members are new, it was just a matter of who would be voted in by fellow board members.
At the board’s Jan. 14 meeting, Matoaca board member Ryan Harter nominated for chairman longtime Chesterfield teacher Debbie Bailey, who represents the Dale District. Her nomination was unanimously approved.
For vice chair, Midlothian member Kathryn Haines nominated Clover Hill member Dot Heffron, who was also voted in unanimously.
Longtime former board member James Schroeder of Midlothian was remembered. Schroeder was originally appointed in 1994 and then was elected three times.
Deputy superintendent Thomas Taylor noted that school administrators began using the Rave Panic Button smartphone app earlier this month. Other school employees will eventually also use the app, he said. The app is used in conjunction with AT&T and was funded by a three-year federal Department of Justice grant, Taylor said, noting that some school employees tested the app last summer.
During public comment, William Brown said member of the public should be able to sign up to speak if they arrive a few minutes late to a meeting. Current policy requires sign-ups prior to the start of the meeting, either in person or through email.
As part of the consent agenda, several grants were approved.
Financially-challenged future college students at L.C. Bird High School will be able to apply for laptops, thanks to a $1,500 grant from Dominion Energy. To qualify, one must have a GPA of 3.0 or above and write an essay explaining the need for the laptop during freshman year.
Debate teams at Carver College and Career Academy ($2,000), Thomas Dale ($500), Manchester ($1,530) and James River ($2,000) high schools will receive Richmond Forum grant funds.
Fifteen teachers at Meadowbrook and Monacan high schools will share $29,828 in federal Department of Education grant funds to facilitate “diversity and inclusion” in student activities. The funds will be used in collaboration with Virginia Commonwealth University’s Metropolitan Educational Research Consortium.
The board next’s regular meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 11, and it will include a public hearing on the Fiscal Year 2020-21 budget. A special meeting to approve the budget will be held 6:30 p.m. Feb. 25. Both will be held at 10001 Iron Bridge Road.
The board scheduled budget work sessions for Jan. 21 at Chesterfield Tech Center at Hull and Jan. 28 and Feb. 4 at the central office board room. The work sessions will start at 4 p.m.