Benjamin Gravely, the Iriswood District representative, had a question for his fellow members of the Henry County School Board, who had gathered Thursday to close out their budget for the concluding fiscal year.
Are local businesses getting their fair share of the contracts the school system was awarding?
“There are misconceptions of spending and not supporting local businesses,” Gravely said.
It was noted that most of the recent bills for payment list 13 vendors that are locally owned businesses and six others that are not locally owned but have offices or stores in the area and have employees that live in the area.
Superintendent of Henry County Public Schools Sandy Strayer said the school system “tries to go local if we can.”
“When we buy Apple devices, we don’t have a local company, but we try to be financially responsible and give back to our community when we can,” Strayer said.
For instance, during the meeting, the board heard about four firms that had responded to a request for proposals for the establishment of a multiyear contract, renewable for a total of 5 years, for professional architectural and engineering services.
All four firms were interviewed, and two firms were recommended to the board, which approved the recommendation to contract with Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates from Lynchburg and RRMM from Roanoke.
The board also awarded Toshiba Business Solutions a 3-year contract, starting July 1, for $135,000 to supply and service copiers and high-speed digital duplicators. These new machines alert the company if a problem is encountered, and a service technician is automatically dispatched.
To close out expenses for fiscal year 2020-21 during this special called meeting, the board approved $28.4 million to be paid for payrolls and other obligations, with $16.3 million coming from the regular school board budget, $11.6 million from federal and state grants and $392,720 from cafeteria funds.
The board’s consent agenda on various items also was approved unanimously and accounted for invoices totaling $1.12 million. Those items included:
- Approval of an amended agreement with Piedmont Community Services that includes $55,000 of reimbursable funds for the services of a behavior specialist.
- Approval of an estimated grant of $203,316 for Regional Alternative Education Program for the new school year. Henry County Schools serves as the fiscal agent for the program that is funded by the Breaking Barriers Grant through the Department of Education. The program is operated collaboratively with Martinsville and Patrick County schools and includes an estimated $95,853.68 of in-kind contributions. The program serves students in Grades 6 through 12 and focuses on students who are unable to function in the regular school environment by providing smaller classrooms with more individual instruction for students.
- Approval of a contract with the ANCHOR for Transitional Day Program for $127,361. Henry County Schools has maintained a contract with ANCHOR since 2007 to provide a program specifically designed to meet the needs of certain special education students who exhibit behaviors which significantly interfere with the instructional school day. Because of the severity of these students’ behaviors and the potential risk to the safety of others, the program is not housed at a school site. Henry County Schools provides two teachers and two paraprofessionals to serve up to 12 students.
- Approval of the DaCapo Programming for the new school year for $40,000. The DaCapo Music Program primarily serves students with more significant cognitive disabilities and promotes interactive learning through song and movement.
Bill Wyatt is a reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. He can be reached at 276-638-8801, Ext. 236. Follow him @billdwyatt.