Letters to The Editor – August 29th, 2018

Published 4:23 pm Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Wasteful spending

Editor, Smithfield Times
Just say “no” to more liberal spending. The Isle of Wight School Board is asking for taxpayers to pay even more money for our school system. How much is enough, especially when they are not spending the money wisely. Where are the teachers’ raises? In my opinion, that should be at the very top of the list. How will you maintain the raises, etc.? Where are the teachers’ supplies? Do they still have to spend their own money to buy things for their classrooms?
Also, how much money is the School Board asking for? How much money will the Board of Supervisors agree to pay? It seems to me that this School Board is not saying “no” to the superintendent at all! Next he is going to ask for a huge raise. I am sure he already has. This School Board has no intention of saving the taxpayers money. A Charter School would be a better way to go instead of paying for a new public school. We need to use some constraint to all of this liberal spending and say “no.” Last week, the school board unanimously approved a new long-range plan for Isle of Wight County Schools. According to the Newport District school board representative, Vicky Hulick, “It has the Hardy renovation and expansion in 2020, a new elementary school being built in 2022 and a Westside Elementary renovation and expansion in 2028.”
She asked for support as the board moved forward. Now, before the board starts hollering that I am not for kids, let me remind them that I have given 22 years of my life teaching.
Kimberly Winget

Opposed to schools program

Editor, Smithfield Times
The Isle of Wight School Board should not pursue its $78 million construction program. If you live in Carrollton, it is easy to believe that growth is substantial. Eagle Harbor, Ben’s Grant, overwhelming afternoon traffic. But Isle of Wight countywide has very low population growth. Welon Cooper shows 6.2 percent. We may even cease to be a high growth county. Hence, no new proffers under Va. Code 15.2-2298. In fact, the school system had fewer K-12 students (5,362) in June 2018 than it did in census year 2010 (5,382). According to the schools’ consultant, there are 532 empty spaces on the Windsor side and 214 empty space on the Smithfield side, with Hardy having 130 empty spaces.
The Carrollton/Westside overcrowding is not due to more division students, but due to a shift of students from Windsor to Smithfield. The Carrollton/Westside overcrowding could easily be solved by using some of the Smithfield side’s 214 empty spaces — like the 130 in Hardy — to say nothing of the 5342 empty spaces on the Windsor side. If school officials will not move overcrowded kids now, what’s the point of a future Hardy expansion. The Hardy area cannot generate enough kids.
Isle of Wight’s school consultant indicates we could have 60 or 90 students per year increase from new development over the next 10 to 15 years. Easily misunderstood. What he should have said was that since the 2,357 housing units built since 2010 census were barely enough to maintain flat enrollments, the future 2,604 housing units from new development will be barely enough to maintain flat enrollments over the next nine years. The growth of our eight-year past is the growth of our nine-year future.
It took our development growth to raise low birth and migration numbers to the flat level. There is no basis for any expansions, and there are 746 empty spaces, an empty school, within the school system for spikes. And an eventual 11-cent tax hike would wreck bond ratings and senior budgets.
Thomas Finderson

Too much bickering

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Editor, Smithfield Times
As is appropriate and right, words of praise and affection have been given to John McCain since his passing this past Saturday. His time as a POW and career in the Senate make him worthy of such. However, unfortunately, I see his dream of more cooperation in Washington and return of normal functionality in Congress going largely unrealized. We have witnessed and been through multiple national tragedies in the last few years, yet it seems to have not been enough for Republicans and Democrats to put their differences aside and work together for the good of the country.
One side always has to be right and praised, one side always has to be wrong and vilified. Scoring political points and finger pointing seems to be more important than coming together and fulfilling the work of the people. I could say to any representative or senator that it is time to do this, but unfortunately, I think that my words would fall on deaf ears. If anyone reading this were in a position to do so, I would tell them to take Senator McCain’s actions to heart, not just his words, and spend more time reaching out than bickering.
Reid S. Lundie

They’re not adults

Editor, Smithfield Times
I just heard a WTKR newsperson say, “a seventeen-year-old man” and wondered in what universe a 17-year-old is an adult. Having just finished 15 years of teaching college psychology in public high schools, it is my observation that 17-year-old students are varying distances from being adults. Research says that our brains continue to develop into our early to mid-20s, and that adolescents respond to situations with a more primitive and more impulsive part of the brain than adults.
While an adult may physically have the ability in an emotionally charged situation to acknowledge how he or she feels and go about choosing a course of action based on potential effectiveness, an adolescent most likely is several years away from being able to master this skill. I have often thought that we as adults have abdicated our responsibility to set and follow through on appropriate limits and consequences for our adolescents.
An athlete may be allowed to disrupt classes because the consequence of detention might interfere with athletic excellence. Students are passed because posting an accurate grade sets in motion an unpleasant and time-consuming experience. A teacher must manage a disruptive student because there is a lack of trust among parents that teachers really have their child’s best interests at heart.
We ask teachers to do impossible tasks and are surprised when they are unable. It strikes me that education is the one place we might want to make a hefty investment, for as we get older, so do our students and there will come a time when we are much more dependent on them for our wellbeing.
Jo Weaver

The JRB traffic

Editor, Smithfield Times
It’s slightly laughable that three traffic lights get the blame for backups and congestion on Carrollton Blvd. I get the frustration, because I’ve sat in it many times too, and still do sometimes.
These three lights are merely exacerbating an already existing problem that would exist even if there were no lights.
This is a county desperately trying to survive on tax money from houses, too many houses, while lacking the economy to sustain itself. As a result, few living here can find jobs within the county to support themselves. As result, people commute elsewhere. Bingo! Congestion!
When people can’t live near their work, there are traffic nightmares. Those four lights handle 30,000 cars per day (just as the JRB does). Mind you, the JRB was designed for 10,000 per day.
Add the lack of direct roads from the bridge to Smithfield and you have a highway infrastructure that is overwhelmed.
While the county overloads itself with million dollar homes and kids the schools cannot handle, the roads get more dangerous and deadly.
Dave Lyons

Time goes by quickly

Editor, Smithfield Times
Our son Ronnie just turned 50. The years have come and gone so fast as our family grew, just like everyone’s. There are many memories, happy times and sad times, for we never know what tomorrow or today will bring upon us.
But one thing I can tell you, each of us have a duty to raise our children to the best of our knowledge with God’s help as we call upon him each day (early in the morning). For you see, the oldest book we have, “The Holy Bible,” has every answer we need to apply to our lives daily, especially Psalms and Proverbs, but other books too. They tell us how to bring up our children in the name f our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who died on the cross between a thief and a murderer. Only one asked Jesus to remember him when he comes into his kingdom. Jesus replied “Today, you will be with me in Paradise.”
As I look at a new approaching morning Paradise sounds good to me.
Marie Bailey