Franklin County school officials have named a new principal for Benjamin Franklin Middle School.

Jami Clements, who currently serves as a principal in Greensville County, will take the helm at the Rocky Mount middle school on July 1. She was appointed to the position by the Franklin County School Board on Monday.

Clements is a U.S. Army veteran and a doctoral candidate at the College of William and Mary, according to a news release. She became interested in Franklin County after attending a concert at the Harvester Performance Center, said Superintendent Mark Church.

Clements will replace Bernice Cobbs, who has served as BFMS principal since the 2015-16 school year. Church said Cobbs is headed to Franklin County High School, where she will serve as building administrator.

Cobbs has been with the school division for many years, working as an administrator at the elementary and middle school levels.

“She wants to get some high school experience behind her as well,” Church said.

On Monday night the school board also amended its 2019-20 budget to reflect the county budget adopted by the board of supervisors last month. The vote was unanimous, according to board clerk Janet Stockton.

The operating budget now comes in at $87.4 million. It’s an increase from the current year, but not by much: $18,641. In March, the school board adopted a $90.9 million budget, hoping to get an additional $3.8 million in funding from the local government.

Still, the budget will be able to support a one-step increase on the salary scale for employees and a 1% bonus for those at the top of the scale.

The school division is saving $1.4 million by eliminating 18 full-time positions through attrition. Enrollment in Franklin County schools has been declining for several years and is expected to continue.

Separate from the operating budget, the school division also will receive its standard $1.2 million in capital fund appropriation from the supervisors.

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Casey Fabris covers business for The Roanoke Times, where she has been a reporter since 2015. Previously, Casey covered Franklin County.

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