Letters to The Editor – September 4th, 2019

Published 2:59 pm Tuesday, September 3, 2019

New look at an old movie

Editor, Smithfield Times
On Saturday, Sept 21, the public is invited to an encore showing of  “The Grapes of Wrath,” which will be the final event in our popular series of movie classics that help illustrate modern political issues in a non-partisan environment. Based on John Steinbeck’s novel by the same name, this film (which stars a young Henry Fonda) addresses a remarkable number of issues we see in our political world today, like immigration, labor, the Dust Bowl, and how farmers are impacted by not just climate, but economic world events as well.
We’ll spend some time before the film reviewing just how we got to the Great Depression, and the significant social safety nets that were passed as a result. One of the big lessons to be learned from our discussion before the film is that major legislation that is passed to meet an immediate need in our country frequently has a “tail” to it that future generations must deal with.
We look forward to seeing you at the Carrollton Library on Saturday, Sept 21 at 2 p.m. 
Lisa Meunier

Taxing ability? Absolutely not

Editor, Smithfield Times
IWCS Board Chairman Hulick thinks the Board needs taxing authority, and the superintendent says teachers deserve more money. Any one want to conjecture what these spendthrifts would do with taxing authority? Where your tax rate would climb to? Virginia’s General Assembly decades ago wisely recognized the danger in having multiple levels of taxing authority. As a School Board member for 13 years I was acutely aware of the prevailing attitude amongst school board members across Virginia that I met at VSBA workshops/conferences. My anti-taxing authority position as a School Board member absolutely threw one of them.
Can you imagine having to run down 10 elected officials to discuss taxes versus the five responsible Supervisors we have? Earlier in the 2000s, Isle of Wight teacher salaries were ranked first or second in the Southside school districts. Where are they today?
The superintendent has the responsibility to recommend a budget to his board annually. What has he recommended in “only” teacher salary increases and had his board pass?
What is not being told you is that the increase percentages posed are across-the-board, impacting what can actually be done to increase teacher salaries alone.
When you have the majority of a School Board kowtowing to their employee’s machinations without apparent objection, budgeted funds are not used efficiently. The Superintendent-Board mindset is, we’ll just ask for more money from the county taxpayers through the Supervisors. Presently, thank goodness, we have supervisors who are not easily hoodwinked by these spendthrifts.
The General Assembly also provides for “categorical” funding of School Boards, anathema to them and Superintendents. However, this is just one more control taxing authorities have over big-spender School Boards. You do know the School Board gets the majority of our tax money, don’t you? Pay attention to the “burning in your pocket” when School Boards, ours included, come calling for dollars. Using efficiently what they have is the answer, including not “feather-bedding” in the Central Office where the “big bucks” are spent in personnel salaries.
Herb De Groft

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