, 2015

Boys & Girls Club presents
alternative school proposal

by Audrey Thomasson

KILMARNOCK—A plan to provide an alternative school in Lancaster, instead of busing county students to Warsaw, was proposed Monday by the Boys and Girls Club of the Northern Neck.

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The organization suggested a partnership with the schools that would provide use of its facilities at 517 North Main Street, Kilmarnock, during the school day when the club’s buildings are not in use.

According to Boys and Girls Club executive director Phillip Mumford, the organization would share use of its computer lab, classrooms and full gym facility for up to 15 primary and middle school children who have been removed from regular classrooms for behavioral issues. The club’s board proposes to provide a site supervisor and custodian at a cost of $20,355 and facility rental fee of $31,500 for a total cost of $51,855 for 180 school days.

The school district would provide an additional teacher and professional aide for the program.

The proposed fees could be an obstacle for a school district already under the gun to cut expenses.

Currently, Lancaster pays $30,000 a year to a regional alternative school and daily buses middle and high school students to the Warsaw campus. However, due to other school districts filling up the classrooms with suspended students, Lancaster has been unable to send many problem students to the school. The shortage of space and long bus rides resulted in discussions by school officials to return to a local alternative school. However, the schools’ technology division took over the alternative school’s former facilities.

“We know that in order to make this idea a reality many hurdles must be overcome,” said Mumford. “We are willing to negotiate and ask that you consider supporting this plan so that together we can work to make a difference in the lives of those youth in our community who are potentially the most at risk.”

After the meeting, school board chairman Dr. Robert Westbrook said the club’s facility would be ideal for the alternative school. He said the school board may be interested in the club’s proposal provided they could work out a financial arrangement that is beneficial to both organizations.

Westbrook noted the Warsaw school has not provided information on how soon they must be notified if Lancaster will be pulling out of the regional facility.

Joining the Warsaw regional facility was part of budget cuts taken during former superintendent Susan Sciabbarrassi’s administration in 2008.

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