Last Updated: Jan 8th, 2015 - 07:42:25

School Board Appoints Replacement Member
By Sarah Steele Wilson
Sep 14, 2012, 11:37

With Patrick Bingham’s resignation from the Prince George County School Board “regretfully accepted” the four remaining members unanimously selected a replacement at Monday night’s meeting.

Kevin Foster served on the board alongside Bingham from 2008 to 2011. He chose not to pursue re-election last year, but will be returning to the board to fill Bingham’s seat.

Foster will serve until the 2013 special election in November.

Board chairman Roger Franklin said he and the other members wanted to select a veteran who would have experience from the start.

“The board will benefit from this and the system will benefit from this,” he said.

Bingham stepped down August to follow his wife, Brig. Gen. Gwen Bingham, former commander of the Quartermaster Corps at Fort Lee, to White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, where she is now Garrison Commander.

As the board finalizes the list of construction projects and desired renovations to include in the Capital Improvements Plan it will submit to the County, a possibility that would allow for the closure of three existing buildings and the construction of a new one, was put on the table.

L.L. Beazley Elementary and William A. Walton Elementary were built in 1964 and the school system has struggled to keep the aging buildings up-to-date.

School Superintendent Dr. Bobby Browder said that it might be more practical to build a new comprehensive high school, with athletic and technological facilities and a wing to accommodate Education Center students from the middle school, junior high school and high school age brackets. The student body from Beazley and Walton would move to the current high school building.

“Three buildings could actually be closed in terms of buildings, heating, cooling electrical and maintenance,” Browder said.

If the project were to proceed, the board could choose to re-allocate the old Beazley building, located directly adjacent to the Court House Complex. to the County for its use.

The board will schedule a special meeting to discuss the proposal and finalize their capital improvements plan.

The board also voted to allow Browder to enter into contract negotiations for the hiring of a part-time residency investigator. The investigator would have law-enforcement experience and would work to ensure that all students attending school in Prince George are residents of the county. The investigator would also be responsible for identifying violators and bringing them forward for prosecution.

“That’s the only way we’re going to stem the tide of people coming here who don’t belong,” board member Robert Cox said.

Franklin said that every year, the county spends money educating students whose parents do not live in the county and do not pay taxes to the county.

“We’ve got to watch out for our citizens, our county, first,” he said.

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