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County Administrator's BLOG

Stay up-to-date with King William County news and happenings from the County Administrator, Percy C. Ashcraft.

Jun 27

KW School Division Sees Leap in SOL Test Scores

Posted on June 27, 2022 at 12:27 PM by Percy Ashcraft

KW School Division Sees Leap in SOL Test Scores

The King William School Board received some very good news at its meeting on June 21 when SOL Pass Rates for 2022 were unveiled by School Division Staff.

The results came from SOL testing last spring in elementary, middle, and high school grades. 

Out of 25 subject areas tested, King William students improved in 17 categories from the last SOL testing period. Seven subjects were slightly down, and one stayed the same.

There were areas of significant progress in most subject areas including the challenging subjects of math and science and parts of reading.

Areas to keep an eye on in future testing is middle school reading, which was slightly lower than the 2020-21 COVID school year.

Congratulations to the students and all school instructional personnel for hard work in testing preparation. This is another positive piece of news for a school division that continues to blossom under the leadership of an active School Board and Superintendent David White.

 

Don’t Forget the Students in All Extracurricular Activities

Sometimes the most visible component of school extracurricular activities is sports. This certainly generates the most attention and excitement when success is reached, i.e. a state championship in football.

Often forgotten are other extracurricular activities such as band, drama, debate and speech teams, etc. It is important we don’t forget the time and effort it takes for these students to compete at a high level.

That is why it felt so good at the King William School Board meeting on June 21 when it was announced the Band Boosters handed a donation to the band program in the amount of $8,319.59. This was collected from hard work by volunteers who see the value in investing in students who choose this venue to display their talents.

When donations are sought, let’s not forget that all extracurricular activities are important and help to shape and mold the young person putting in the time.

 

King William Little League Showcases Organization & Facilities with District Softball Tournament

It was really exciting to witness the showcase of King William Little League (KWLL) hosting the District 15 Little League Tournament for Minor Softball (ages 8-10).

The tournament concluded on June 23 with KWLL defeating Westmoreland and earning a bid in the state tournament in July to be played in Coburn.

The on-the-field success was made possible because of the off-the-field success from volunteers who started early this year to upgrade the fields, lighting, dugouts, and other parts of the infrastructure. It took numerous hours to plan for what turned out to be a very successful tournament.

Kudos to all KWLL personnel and players, coaches, volunteers, sponsors, and parents. League President, Mike Maiorana, is scheduled to give an update to the Board of Supervisors on the success of the tournament and the season as a whole at the July 11 Work Session.

Planning is already underway with County Staff to see what other upgrades and improvements might be needed at Rec Park. Parking remains a concern at the facility and many people are putting their heads together to see how that aspect can be expanded.

What a tremendous value to our quality of life to see such a tremendous bond between Little League baseball and the community!

 

Building Inspections Piling Up at Rapid Rate

The number of building inspections through the King William County’s Building Official’s Department is piling up at a rapid rate according to statistics through May 31.

Since January 1 of this year, 1,714 inspections have been completed. The highest month was April with 483 inspections. January was the lowest with 287.

King William County currently has two employees covering the bulk of the inspections, with other departments helping out when needed. The volume is a sign of active construction in the County and an indication the economy is stronger than national trends.

 

Next Class of Fire & EMS Recruits Graduate July 1

The next class of recruits will be installed into the rank of King William Fire & EMS during a special ceremony on Friday, July 1, at 6 p.m. at Hamilton-Holmes Middle School.

Friends and family will be present to help honor the recruits, who have gone through rigorous training to prepare for full-time employment. That training included Firefighter 1, Awareness/Operations, May Day, Firefighter Down, and EMT B.

Congratulations on a great job of hiring and training led by Chief Stacy Reaves and his staff. The additional employees will continue to shore up the ranks and improve response times in the County.

Jun 22

Naming of Central Garage Has Interesting History

Posted on June 22, 2022 at 5:48 PM by Christine Branch

Naming of Central Garage Has Interesting History

The storm that passed through King William County in the early evening of June 17 caught the attention of media outlets as well as residents themselves.

Particularly hard hit was the Central Garage area, which saw high winds and heavy rain bring trees to the ground and cause power to be off for 4-5 hours in some locations.

Later that evening on the 11:00 news, NBC12 Meteorologist Nick Russo further broke down the storm damage and its primary location along Route 360 and Route 30 in Central Garage.

“Particularly hard hit was the Central Garage area of King William County,” Russo said. “Central Garage is actually a location and not a structure on somebody’s property.”

Russo’s comment left me searching for how Central Garage got its name. As a six-month newbie to King William, I had never paused to ask the question.

Everyone’s historical guru is Eugene Campbell, whose father actually owned the structure to which the section of King William County is referred. According to Campbell, “The old original garage stood behind a store (at the intersection of Route 30 and Sharon Road). The store is still there today.

“The store has been many things since it was built (guessing around 1900),” Campbell continued. “Besides a garage, it has been a restaurant, living quarters, dance hall in WW II, sandwich/candy shop, and antique store.”

Campbell said he had always heard the name of the area came from a “garage centrally located at the intersection of two major roads in the County.” Therefore, the name Central Garage.

Campbell also passed along that the name Central Garage met some opposition as some in later years wanted to change it to Sharon Church. As we all know now, that effort failed.

Campbell and his sisters continue to own the property. Their father bought the store in 1989 to open an antique shop.

Next time you see Central Garage on the weather map, now you know why it is a location and not a structure on someone’s property.

York River Yesterdays Circa 1925


State Employees Awaiting Salary Increases

Salary increases appear to be included for state employees who are funded by the Compensation Board after Governor Youngkin signed the FY ’23 Budget on June 21.

Correspondences within the circles of Social Services declare all DSS employees will be eligible for a five percent increase beginning August 1. Comp Board figures are still being determined for Constitutional Officers, but the same five percent is expected to apply.

Here is a summary from the Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) on the latest Budget details:

The General Assembly accepted 28 of the Governor’s amendments and rejected 10. The Governor did not propose further changes to the grocery tax, leaving in place the elimination of the state portion of the tax (and preservation of the 1 percent local option portion) that was included in the conference report. A summary of the legislature’s actions on the Governor’s amendments of interest to local governments follows below:

  • Accepted language to expand the types of higher-education entities that may apply to form college partnership laboratory schools but rejected a proposal that would have provided for the distribution of state per-pupil K-12 funding for students enrolled at college partnership laboratory schools to the college partnership laboratory schools. This language also would have allowed the Board of Education to disburse to the college partnership laboratory school an amount equal to the local funding that the school would receive, based upon its average daily membership. VACo has traditionally opposed efforts to remove local authority to establish alternative schools from local school boards and divert public SOQ funds away from public schools.
  • Rejected the proposed suspension of taxes on the wholesale distribution of gasoline and diesel fuel for three months (from July 1 through September 30, 2022) and capping of future increases at 2 percent per year.
  • Approved the proposed additional $2 million per year to expand the Early Reading Specialists initiative (which supports school divisions in funding one reading specialist per school in schools that rank lowest statewide on the third grade reading Standards of Learning assessment) to fund additional reading specialists or reading coaches or to support school personnel in attaining licensure requirements for endorsement as a reading specialist.
  • Approved the addition of language and funding to provide the $1000 bonus that was included in the conference report for SOQ-recognized instructional and support personnel to instructional and support positions at Academic Year Governor’s Schools and Regional Alternative Education Programs (this action corrects an inadvertent omission in the conference report).
  • Approved the proposed addition of $4.4 million GF in FY 2023 and $291,060 NGF in FY 2023 to support efforts to address the lack of placements for high-acuity children in foster care. This funding would support the development of partnerships between local departments of social services to increase capacity to approve kinship caregivers and recruit and train locally-approved foster parents; support an enhanced treatment foster care pilot program that would provide stipends for foster families caring for high-acuity children; support additional coordination, recruitment, and training for foster care agencies; and support initiatives of the Safe and Sound Task Force, including community-based treatments, support for kinship, foster, and adoptive families, and trauma-informed care for children in foster care who are displaced, or at risk of becoming displaced.
  • Accepted the proposed addition of $2 million in FY 2024 for a $3000 salary increase for probation and parole officers in the Department of Juvenile Justice, as well as the proposed addition of $2.2 million in FY 2024 for compensation actions for juvenile correctional center staff.
  • Approved proposed language allowing a medical cannabis facility to operate at both its former and new locations when it is changing locations.
  • Approved the proposed addition of $2.4 million per year for additional security positions at state mental health hospitals.
  • Approved changes to the eligibility requirements for the earned-sentence credit structure that was developed in legislation passed in the 2020 summer special session.
  • Rejected language that would have created a rebuttable presumption against bail for certain criminal offenses.

The General Assembly is scheduled to return on September 7.

Hard Work Paying Off for King William Little League

Hard work has paid off for the King William Little League as visitors to this week’s 8–10-year-old Softball Tournament are taking notice of the improvements made in recent months.

One Caroline County observer said recently he had been coming to games at the King William Recreational Park for many years but has never seen it look as good as it does now. He pointed out the upgraded playing surfaces and new lights were great additions.

Kudos to the County’s Maintenance Department for their steady work on the park infrastructure, which survived the hard storm on June 17 to be able to open the tourney the very next day.

An expanded Recreation Program is being touted by County Staff which could lead to even more improvements to the signature facility for youth in King William County.

DMV Mobile Unit Returns to King William on June 30

The DMV Connect will be making its second visit to the King William Recreation Center on Route 360 on Thursday, June 30. Commissioner of the Revenue Karena Funkhouser is coordinating the visits.

Those needing DMV services can get one-on-one attention between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. The more people utilize the service, the more the mobile unit will return to the Route 360 location.

 

Jun 15

Virginia Loses 62K People in Five-Year Analysis

Posted on June 15, 2022 at 10:06 AM by Percy Ashcraft

Virginia Loses 62K People In Five-Year Analysis

Our friends at the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP) recently conducted an interesting analysis of population trends in Virginia moving to and from other states between 2015 and 2020.

The bottom line is the Commonwealth lost about 62,000 people during that period. The greatest destination for those leaving Virginia is Florida, which captured 36,614 people. A close second was North Carolina gaining 31,734 Virginians. Texas picked up the third slot with 16,928.

Virginia, however, was not without its gains. New Yorkers looking to migrate south landed 27,020 in Virginia during the five-year period. New Jersey was a distant second with 14,489 moving to the Commonwealth, and Maryland was a distant third with 9,322 people pulling up roots and moving to Virginia.

Overall, Virginia lost population to 29 states and picked up from 21. The District of Columbia was included in the results.

 

Rapid Retirement Numbers Lead to Teacher Shortages

Passing along another piece of information from VPAP is the rapid retirement numbers that grew out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

From FY 2017 to FY 2020, 4,406 teachers entered the Virginia Retirement System. In FY 22, 4,881 teachers opted to retire. That was an average increase of nearly 500 more teachers than normal.

When to retire also produced interesting data. In FY 20, over 1,200 teachers retired mid-year. That number has declined to less than 1,100 retiring at the semester break in FY 22.

Causes of the retirements vary, but some of the reason rests with school districts switching to online-only or hybrid instruction. This has created a “brain drain” in the teaching profession throughout the state.

Teaching is still one of the most rewarding careers. Qualified applicants should check the websites for both King William County and West Point for open positions.

 

Dates Set for Farmers Market & Family Fun Nights

Circle the dates of July 22 and August 19 on your calendars! The King William Economic Development Authority (EDA) will be hosting two “Farmers Market & Family Fun Nights.”

Each event will begin at 4 p.m. and end at 7:00 at the King William High School parking lot. Vendors will be on hand selling local produce and meat, as well as artisans, crafters, farm animals, and a variety of children’s activities.

Plan to eat out that night by visiting the Food Trucks.

Vendor registration is open at no charge. Visit the County website or contact Chris Branch at deputyclerk@kingwilliamcounty.us for more information.

Strong attendance at the two events will help the EDA measure whether to have the events on a regular basis in 2023.

 

New Welcome Signs to Greet Visitors Entering King William County

Motorists entering King William County on both Route 360 and Route 30 will soon be greeted with new “Welcome Signs” approved by the Board of Supervisors at their Work Session on June 13.

The signs will be designed and constructed by Dave Tench Signs. The cost for four (4) 4x6 aluminum signs with aluminum posts and installation is $11,432.

The two signs on Route 360 will rest in the median after leaving Hanover and King & Queen counties. The two signs leaving Caroline and the Town of West Point on Route 30 will be near the same places as the existing signs.

Depending on availability of materials, County officials are hopeful the signs will be erected by Labor Day.

 

Speed Study Called for Acquinton Church Road

After another fatality on June 13, the Board of Supervisors has asked VDOT officials to conduct a Speed Study on Acquinton Church Road.

Supervisor Stewart Garber cited statistics that call for a review of the stretch of highway that has been the scene of other fatalities and accidents.

VDOT Resident Engineer Lee McKnight noted highway officials would start the review as soon as possible.