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Middlesex teaching positions may be cut

by Larry S. Chowning

Banks to retire

Middlesex Elementary School principal Joanie Banks has announced she will retire at the end of the current school year. 

Banks became principal at Wilton Elementary School in 1989, and remained in that position until she became principal of the new Middlesex Elementary School (MES) in 2003. 

Banks was regional special education teacher from 1980 to 1985; a teacher at St. Clare Walker Middle School from 1985 to 1986; a teacher at Wilton Elementary from 1986-1987; and a teacher at Rappahannock Central Elementary from 1987 to 1989; Wilton Elementary principal from 1989 to 2002; and MES principal from 2003 to 2009.

The school board accepted Banks’ resignation at its April 9 meeting.

When informed several weeks ago that the upcoming FY10 school budget faced a 5% decrease in local funding, Middlesex School Superintendent Rusty Fairheart made it clear jobs and programs would have to be cut.

The hard reality of this became clear last week.

At a special called meeting on April 9, Fairheart recommended to the school board the following $150,000 in cuts:

  • The St. Clare Walker (SCW) Middle School Family Consumer Science Program (home economics) be dropped.
  • The French program be eliminated at Middlesex High School (MHS).
  • One band teaching position be eliminated from the division-wide band program.

There are currently two band teachers in the school system. One is located at SCW and the other at MHS. If this recommendation is approved by the school board, band programs will continue at both schools but only one teacher will be responsible for the two programs.

The home economics, French and band teaching jobs are all considered “non-core” positions by the schools.

Fairheart also recommended cutting an unspecified administration position from the central office at a savings of $50,000.

Other cuts recommended by Fairheart include: a cafeteria monitor at Middlesex Elementary School (MES) to save $2,906; band equipment, school furniture and an athletic stipend from SCW to save $14,132; and athletic uniforms, media center furniture and band instruments from MHS to save $22,504. These cuts total $39,542.

He also recommended saving $29,104 by eliminating local funding of the summer school program in all of the schools.

Fairheart does plan to continue the summer school program at MES by using stimulus funds instead of local funds. The summer school programs at MHS and SCW would be eliminated completely.

posted 04.15.2009

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