By: Meredith Baker | Email: Click Here
Posted: Feb. 18, 2018 | 12:05 p.m.
PRINCE GEORGE – New School Board Member Chris Johnson has completed the first month of his first term on the board.
Johnson said that his goals as a new school board member are the same goals he had while running for office: ensuring that graduating students have plenty of options to either enroll in college or enter the workforce, making sure students are safe at school, upgrading those school buildings that need upgrades, and attracting and retaining good teachers.
He would also like to see the division solve the transportation problem, achieve full accreditation for all schools, and also take care of its employees.
“We have to be willing to have a pay system that is competitive in our area and that rewards the performance of our teachers,” Johnson said. “We have a great staff, and we need to take care of them.”
As the school division drafts a budget for Fiscal Year 2019, Johnson said that pay increases are one of his top priorities, along with the construction of new schools and implementing best practices so that the division will be able to give those pay increases. In order to prepare for the budget process and better understand how it works, Johnson said he has been meeting with teachers, staff, and administrators; examining the data behind staff recommendations; and looking at other successful school divisions.
Although the school board only has one regular meeting every month, there are also special meetings, budget meetings, and meetings of the other boards on which school board members serve, such as the Appomattox Regional Governor’s School Board. Johnson said that he has also been spending a lot of time learning about his new role by meeting with school personnel and studying on his own.
He said that he still intends to continue his involvement in other activities, such as Special Olympics, though the process of learning about and fulfilling his new responsibilities has taken a significant amount of time during his first few weeks of being on the board.
“Certainly my commitment to the school board is one of the top priorities now,” Johnson said.
Johnson said that the other members of the school board have offered their support over the last few weeks.
“I’m really impressed with the other board members and their willingness to help each other out in our different assignments,” Johnson said.
Johnson said he has also been impressed with the people he has encountered in all areas of the division, from the central office to the classroom to the cafeteria. He was also surprised at the quiet and order he witnessed on a recent visit to one of the elementary schools.
“We have great children,” Johnson said. “I think it’s because we have a great community, great parents, and we certainly have great teachers.