MILLBORO — Bath County’s on-time graduation rate fell below the state average in 2019.

The state rate of 91.5 percent exceeded Bath County’s graduation rate of 87.5 percent in 2019, according to data recently released by Virginia Department of Education.

These graduation results were discussed during Tuesday’s meeting of the Bath County School Board, held at Millboro Elementary School.

Bath County High School Principal Dr. Michael Perry said the BCHS rate was based on 48 students who entered the ninth grade in 2015. Six BCHS students were lost over the course of those four years — three male students and three females.

These students were lost despite what Dr. Perry termed “extraordinary measures to try to keep those students in school.”

“They were all economically disadvantaged,” Dr. Perry added.

Superintendent Sue Hirsh said that Bath County had exceeded the state average the previous two years, and she touched on students who earned an advanced diploma. More than half — 51.5 percent — of the students in the Class of 2019 across Virginia graduated with an advanced diploma.

“The majority of our students who did finish were achieving the higher-level diplomas,” Hirsh added.

School board members Roy Burns and Cathy Lowry agreed that just a couple of students can influence Bath County’s average due to the system’s lower enrollment totals.

“Our numbers are always skewed,” Burns said.

“And they can be skewed a lot by just one student,” Lowry added.

The 2019 on-time graduation rates were released by the state on Oct. 8.

“I think we’ll do much better this year,” Dr. Perry said.

Also Tuesday night, the school board discussed the Capital Improvement Plan for fiscal year 2021-25.

Items on the list were taken from last year’s CIP request and Phase 2 of the elementary door locks project was added.

The minimum threshold for a requested project is $50,000.

The school board is expected to approve the Capital Improvement Plan at its Dec. 3 meeting.

Hirsh also provided an update on two projects that were approved in last year’s capital improvements requests — air conditioning in the gym at BCHS and improvements to the BCHS baseball field.

Hirsh said school officials continue to negotiate on the payment of the air conditioning project. She said she hopes work can be completed during off days from school and during holidays.

School officials are looking for an alternate site for the BCHS baseball team to play in the spring in anticipation of work to the BCHS baseball field. She said the permitting process has been a challenge and the discovery of a pipe on the hill where fill dirt was to be removed has also presented a challenge.

“These projects are not forgotten, and we hope to see some action starting here on these,” Hirsh said.

In other business Tuesday night, the school board:

— entertained a presentation from Millboro Elementary School instructor Anne Entsminger on the Star Walk app on planets and constellations;
— approved the budget development calendar for fiscal year 2020-2021;
— approved a request for an additional appropriation in the amount of $10,903.83.

School officials have received notice of distribution of National Forest Receipts Distributed Pursuant to the Federal Power Act for Federal Fiscal Year 2019 in the amount of $50,560.72.

For the current fiscal year, Bath County Public Schools budgeted $40,000 in revenue, thus a request for an appropriation in the amount of the difference is required;

— approved the Local Plan for the Education of the Gifted.

School board member Eddie Ryder did not attend Tuesday’s meeting.