Teachers and technology were the biggest concerns Thursday during a second public hearing on the Isle of Wight school budget.
And many who spoke were in favor of a tax increase to support needs of the school district.
“I don’t think teachers feel appreciated,” said Smithfield High School student Dane Mosely.
Windsor High School senior Will Wyatt said his teachers’ low morale was due to the “outlandish threats they receive,” such as closing schools and cutting out summer school.
Stephanie Bailey, who heads up the Isle of Wight Education Association, said “teachers feel like toys to be played with and people are playing with them.”
Others asked for technological upgrades, such as increased bandwidth to handle the additional computer traffic.
The Board of Supervisors had asked the School Board to present a flat budget and most of the cuts included kindergarten aides and technological upgrades.
Parents who spoke were also worried that the county’s schools were getting a negative image due to the recent conflict between the School Board and Board of Supervisors.
People choose to move to a community based on its school system, and Isle of Wight can’t afford to have people move elsewhere, said parent Aaron Millikin of Carrolton.
Parent Corey Hearn of Smithfield questioned why instructional jobs were slated for cuts when no change was being made for the “six figure” administrators.
“The budget is heavy on administration and this is where the cuts can be made,” he said.
Neal Johnson of Smithfield advocated for raising taxes, as did School Board member Herb DeGroft, who gave the Board a check for $450 to cover his proposed tax increase.
Windsor Mayor Rita Richardson, who taught for 30 years, also advocated for a tax increase. Richardson was alarmed that the schools were receiving the same amount of money as it had five years ago — despite rising expenses. ...(Subscribe!)