Wise County students set for “longest summer vacation … in a long time” | news

WISE — Barring any spring weather surprises, Wise County Schools students will see their summer vacation start two weeks before Memorial Day.

Superintendent Greg Mullins brought news of the anticipated May 16 end-of-school date to the School Board on Tuesday along with firm graduation dates for the three county high schools.

Mullins told the board that a combination of a mild winter and the availability of remote learning systems from the pandemic have kept weather day closures to a minimum.

“This will probably be the longest summer vacation our students have seen in a long time,” Mullins said.

“We will be able to return to normal graduations this year,” he added.

Ceremonies for Eastside, Union, and Central high schools will be held at the David J. Prior Convocation Center at UVA Wise on the following schedule:

• Eastside: May 6 at 7 pm

• Union: May 7 at 11 am

• Central: May 7 at 4 pm

The board also approved the calendar for the 2022-23 academic year, with a start date of Aug. 4 and a planned last day of May 15. Mullins said the calendar drew a 65% approval rate in a survey of school employees.

As the end of the fiscal year approaches, Mullins said, General Assembly debate on a final state budget still leaves several open areas in the board’s budget planning. Citing teacher raise proposals from both legislative chambers, Mullins said the House of Delegates budget plan includes 4% annual hikes and 1% bonuses for two years while the Senate version calls for 5% annual raises in the same period.

The House and Senate budget plans differ by $3 billion, Mullins added, leaving several details to be resolved including education funding. The board did vote on one budget item for the next fiscal year: unanimous acceptance of a 19.4% hike in the division’s Anthem TLC health insurance plan.

Board member John Graham asked Mullins if he could get information on whether COVID-19-related hospitalization costs in the current fiscal year contributed to Anthem’s rate increase.

The board will hold a planning workshop for the division’s 2022-23 budget on March 31 at 6 pm

Mullins and the school board also recognized three student-athletes for their respective state championships this school year:

• Union High’s Thomas Potter, who won his second wrestling title.

• Union High’s Keyandre Davis, who won the shot put crown with a throw of 51 feet, 1 inch.

• Central High’s Maddox Reynolds, who won his fourth championship in the 55-meter hurdles.

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