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Rein in spending on IW schools

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Isle of Wight County Schools’ plan to take $27.2 million-plus from “us” county taxpayers is totally out of line when considering the decrease in number of students since 2019, when the cost per student was at $4,772. Now our school board and superintendent want $5,050 each!

Virginia allocates school districts’ funds based on student numbers. Why shouldn’t our Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors not do likewise? Save us county taxpayers millions more up front, plus keep additional millions of our hard-earned funds from being wasted, too.

Since 2019 and 2020 when student numbers swung anywhere between 5,630 to just past January’s 5,310, the IWCS Board has been given at a minimum $1 million more than needed each of past two budget years. Routinely this school board acquiesces to its superintendent with little if any question. In fact, the board routinely shows zero fiscal competency. Use of fiscal acumen’s a primary responsibility of school board members.

Example: This January a 2% cost-of-living allowance was given to IWCS employees. 2%, really? Every county senior citizen on Social Security knows their COLA was 1.3%. Who provided this “recommendation” to our school board? Betcha it was the employee who professed several years ago of having a “math degree”? So we really know “cost control management” is not a resident skill in our school board.

I urge citizens to call their member of the Board of Supervisors and express your displeasure at their possibly, again, “overfunding” this school board. Our supervisors are the “final decision” and guardians of our wallets from these big spenders.

If you don’t know your supervisor’s number, call our county operator at 357-3191 to get it. With the superintendent’s anticipated 5,388 in student numbers this September, $25.7 million is more than adequate for IWCS for 2022.

Internally, IWCS needs to make adjustments. Our school board can direct its employee to reduce the roughly $3 million-plus cost in the central office. They’ve allowed the superintendent to keep placing “highly compensated persons” therein who add nothing to the learning that takes place in the school system classrooms.

 

Herb De Groft

Smithfield