T he POSTAL CUSTOMER King George Pages 13 & 14 Volume 38, Number 7 helping you relate to your community KGHS Students in Circuit Court as Maryland Man Enters Plea Wednesday, February 12, 2014 50 Cents More briefs filed in KG legal action against Project Faith Warner visits KG Phyllis Cook Lawyers for both sides filed legal briefs during January in the action initiated by King George last October against Project Faith to get it to return, or alternatively, allow a 5.53-acre parcel of land, to revert to the county’s ownership. The filings last month from both sides could lead to a second preliminary hearing, prior to getting to the main event. Alternatively, the next hearing to be scheduled could decide the whole case over the issue of the county getting the land back. Project Faith’s brief was filed on Jan. 8, with the county’s answering motions filed on Jan. 29. Richard Leggitt A 23-year-old Maryland man has entered a plea of guilty in King George Circuit Court to a charge of obtaining money by false pretenses. Robert Davis of Welcome Church, Md., will be sentenced by Circuit Court Judge Joseph Ellis on April 10. Davis entered the plea without a trial. But, nine students from a King George High School honors government class were at the courthouse Thursday, shadowing court officials as part of their studies, and were sitting in the jury box as Circuit Court observers. Davis was convicted in Charles County, Md., last October of breaking into his grandmother’s home and stealing her sterling silverware. After the break-in, he crossed the US 301 Bridge to King George and sold the silverware at Cash for Gold in Dahlgren. “Unfortunately, stealing to fuel a drug habit is all too common of a story,” said King George Commonwealth’s Attorney Keri Gusmann. “How else do you explain breaking into your grandmother’s home, stealing her silverware, and driving to another state to sell the silverware, if not for drugs?” Davis could receive up to 20 years in prison for his crime, although sentencing guidelines call for a sentence of 10 months, to two years and three months. Judges in Virginia, however, are not required to follow the guidelines. Students from Mrs. Barbara Anderson’s KGHS honors government class were in court because they were spending the day shadowing Gusmann, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Jennifer Pollard, and King George Circuit Court Clerk Vic Mason. “The kids seemed to enjoy court and had great questions for Judge Ellis after court was over,” Gusmann said. “Mrs. Anderson is an absolutely wonderful person and a very dedicated teacher,” said Mason. “As a government teacher, she understands that local government has the most direct impact on our daily lives, and she has, year in and year out, sent her students to this office and other county offices for them to gain insight into what various duties and responsibilities our county offices and officials perform on a daily basis.” “I look forward to the students’ visit. Each year, they bring with them a thirst for knowledge and infectious optimism that spreads to all of us. The interaction that I have with them gives me confidence in the future of our community, Commonwealth and nation,” Mason said. The King George High School students in court for Davis’ conviction and other cases were: Hunter Tolliver, Michael Hundley, Kaz Kegley, Tori Bail, Martha Legg, Courtney Brown, Ryshauna Graham, Anna Kniceley and Lena Easingwood. “It was a unique experience to see how it really works; not just to watch it on TV,” Kegley told court officials. Michael Huntley was impressed, as well. “A lot goes on behind the scenes,” Hundley said. Jessica Herrink Senator Mark Warner visited King George Sunday to speak to a group of business leaders at Belle Grove. Dahlgren Supervisor Ruby Brabo organized the visit where Warner heard about issues from the lack of wireless broadband to issues involving the Veterans Administration. BRIEF HISTORY The land parcel had been donated by the county to the non-profit residential development company in mid-2012, with numerous conditions attached, to construct and operate in perpetuity a facility, referred to as a help center, to lease space to various government agencies and non-profits to house social programs. King George had filed a breach of contract complaint last fall due to Project Faith’s failure to meet its first major deadline under the contractual conditions, which was commencement of construction by Aug. 1, 2013. That August date had been requested from the Board of Supervisors as an extended fivemonth deadline from the original Feb. 28, 2013 deadline by Project Faith’s executive director Froncé Wardlaw at a meeting on Feb. 5, 2013 and agreed to by the county with formal amendments subsequently drawn up, voted on, and executed. The county had also waited more than 60 days prior to issuing a notice of default, to give a potential cure period for Project Faith to meet the commencement of construction deadline, though arguing no cure period was contractually required under the alleged breach. At a preliminary hearing on Dec. 18, Circuit Court Judge, Hon. Joseph See Project faith, page 2 King George Supervisors discuss 2014-15 budgeting process Phyllis Cook The King George Board of Supervisors met this week for its first budget meeting to discuss its general process for proceeding with upcoming fiscal decisions for 2014-15. Chairman Joe Grzeika kicked off the twohour session saying it would provide a generic view of the budget and the Board would hear from a couple of the primary contributors to the budget, with more to come at future sessions. The meeting was also intended to provide some budget guidance for the county administrator and finance staff to enable them to put some finishing touches on a budget proposal under development. The next budget meeting is scheduled for Feb. 25 at 5:30 p.m. at a location to be determined. This week’s budget meeting took place on Feb. 11, with the School Board also meeting separately the same evening and agreeing to attend the county’s next budget session to provide an overview of its budget request for next year. Fire & Rescue is expected to also provide a presentation at an upcoming budget session, with presentations also expected from the county department of Human Resources and from the Electoral Board. Travis Quesenberry, county administrator, also said budget books would be distributed at a future budget work session. BUDGET STARTING POINT Quesenberry provided an overview of the current year’s budget as a starting point for next year’s. Quesenberry said of the current year budget of $65,489,551, that 56.6 percent goes to the School Board, with 11.3 percent toward public safety, including Sheriff, E-911, Fire & Rescue and Animal Control. Debt Service is 10 percent, with 6.4 percent going to Social Services, 3.1 percent toward Constitutional Officers, Courts and the Registrar. He noted those five categories add up to 87.4 percent of the current year budget. In addition, 2 percent goes to General Properties, 1.7 percent toward the Rappahannock Regional Jail and Juvenile Detention, 1 percent to outside agencies, the Virginia Department of Health, and VPI Extension. The Capital Improvement Fund makes up 0.9 percent, the Smoot Library gets 0.8 percent, with 0.12 percent toward the Tourism Fund. Those, with the first five categories, add up to 93.9 percent of the current year budget, with the remaining 6.1 percent going toward costs for the Board of Supervisors, County Administration, County Attorney, Human Resources, Information Technology, Landfill, Engineering and Inspections, Parks and Recreation & the Citizen Center, Community Development, Economic Development, and Contingency. Quesenberry said he had directed as in the past that department heads and agencies use the previous year’s ending budget amount as their starting point for building the next year’s budget request. He also said they were informed that part-time employees would be limited to 29 hours per week, as per action previously taken by the Board of Supervisors. Quesenberry said there would be a request to upgrade two positions in general properties from part-time to full-time, along with an increase projected for health insurance costs, with firm numbers yet to be obtained from providers. Supervisors listened to presentations with some discussion taking place but no decisions made at this point in the process. WORK SESSION HIGHLIGHTS ~ SHERIFF Sheriff Steve Dempsey was on the agenda and discussed his request for six new positions, including two deputies and four communication officers for dispatch. He provided details on increased need to justify the positions. The Sheriff ’s budget pages were distributed, indicating that his total budget request would ask for an increase of $522,000 over the current year’s budget. ~ COUNTY ATTORNEY County Attorney Eric Gregory presented his request for a new position for a paraprofessional for his office providing details of the rationale for the needed position. His budget pages were distributed, indicating that his total budget request would ask for an increase of $690,000. ~ OUTSIDE AGENCIES Supervisors spent time reviewing outside agency requests, coming to concurrence to direct staff to bring back more information about the requests and to categorize them to indicate which are optional, those that have a regional component, and the ones that are non-discretionary and required to be funded. ~ COMMUNITY COLLEGES Supervisors concurred with Grzeika to ask that more information be obtained by Quesenberry about the need to continue to provide financial support for both of the community colleges, Germanna and Rappahannock Community College. The board’s desire is to only contribute to one, though there are arguments that county residents utilize both institutions providing higher education services. ~ TOURISM FUND BUDGET There was a great deal of discussion about which items might be funded under the relatively small amount of $79,600 required to fund tourism as part of the transient occupancy tax revenue. See budget, page 2 School Board approves calendar for 2014-15 school year Phyllis Cook The King George School Board approved its school calendar for next school year, 2014-15, at a meeting this week on Feb. 10. The calendar was developed by a committee headed by Kristine Hill, division coordinator of curriculum. The calendar had been selected from one of three that had been under consideration, which was the most popular with both school employees and non-staff in an online survey. During previous review at a meeting on Jan. 27, the School Board had agreed with the survey results, but made a few changes. DETAILS OF THE 2013-14 APPROVED SCHOOL CALENDAR School divisions are required to adopt a calendar that contains 180 school days, including scheduled half-days. They are also required to have a minimum of 990 instructional hours. If a division has more than the 990 hours scheduled, the residual number of hours can be used to make up days missed. Should the school year fall below the required instruction days or hours, the difference will be made up by converting one or both of two nonschool dates. Those make-up dates are Jan. 28, 2015, and Feb. 16, 2015. The approved calendar includes the details noted below, noted by month. It will be posted online at the division’s website. 2014-15 APPROVED CALENDAR ~ AUGUST 2014 Prior to the start of school, teachers new to the division are scheduled to report on Monday, Aug. 18 and 19, with returning teachers to report on Wednesday, Aug. 20, and work through Thursday, Aug. 28, with Aug. 29 a day off for a long Labor Day weekend prior to the start of school the following week. Open houses at each of the schools are typically scheduled during this week prior to the Labor Day weekend, with specific dates are to be determined. ~ SEPTEMBER 2014 – School begins on Tuesday, Sept. 2, following the Labor Day holiday on Monday, Sept. 1. ~ OCTOBER 2014 – Oct. 16 is an early dismissal day for students and a teacher workday. ~ NOVEMBER 2014 –Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 4 is a student holiday and a teacher workday for professional development. Veterans Day, Tuesday, Nov. 11 is a holiday for students and staff. Nov. 26-28 are holidays for students and staff for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. ~ DECEMBER 2014 – School is closed for winter holidays on Monday, Dec. 22, through the end of the month, with school starting back up on Monday, Jan. 5. ~ JANUARY 2015 – Monday, Jan. 5 is the first day back after the winter holidays for students and staff. Jan. 19 is designated as a school holiday on Martin Luther King Day for students and staff. Mid-year exams at the high school and middle school are scheduled for half-days on Jan. 26 and 27, which are also teacher workdays at all schools. Those same days are likewise early dismissal for all students, including elementary. Wednesday, Jan. 28 is a student holiday and teacher workday for professional development. The second semester begins on Thursday, Jan. 29. ~ FEBRUARY 2015 - Presidents Day, Monday, Feb. 16, is a student/ staff holiday. Friday, Feb. 27 is an early dismissal day for elementary students and a teacher workday for professional development at the elementary schools. ~ MARCH 2015 – There are no school holidays or shortened days during March. ~ APRIL 2015 –Friday, April 3 is early dismissal for students and staff to mark the beginning of spring holidays, with Easter falling on Sunday, April 5. All division schools will have a full week off on April 6-10 for students and staff following the Easter holiday. School resumes on Monday, April 13. ~ MAY 2015 – Friday, May 22, is early dismissal for the Memorial Day holiday weekend for students/ staff. Monday, May 25, Memorial Day, is a holiday for all, with school resuming on Tuesday, May 26. ~ JUNE 2015 – High school graduation is scheduled on Saturday, June 6. Exams at the middle and high school are scheduled on June 11 and 12, with early dismissal on those days for students division-wide and workdays for teachers. June 12 is also the last day of school. 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