Letter – Dislikes school construction tax

Published 5:21 pm Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

This newspaper’s “Our Forum” (“Another defeat for needed bill,” March 1) laments that a bill for cities and counties to approve another sales tax surcharge to finance school construction and renovations was defeated by the General Assembly. 

This is a victory for the taxpayers in Virginia. There are already real estate taxes that are regularly adjusted to pay for the schools. What this means is that on top of the real estate taxes that property owners already pay for the schools, there will be an additional school sales tax imposed on them. 

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The forum’s rationale for supporting this sales tax increase is that it will “allow renters” who have many kids in the schools to help fund the schools. This concept fails to understand that “renters” pay school taxes via their rental bills collected by the property owners, who in turn pay real estate taxes to the county. Unfortunately, the bulk of sales taxes fall mostly on the residents of the county rather than on occasional transients or visitors.

Routinely, The Smithfield Times publishes articles addressing IWCS seeking funds or controversies about the school. Although it may appear unrelated, honor rolls from the county schools are regularly published in this newspaper. I took the time once to compare the number of students on the honor rolls to the total population at the various schools. Amazingly the county schools are doing an outstanding job when it appears that more than 40% of the students are on the honor roll, so lack of money is not affecting academic accomplishments. 

It is obvious that IWCS is overfunded when it contributes funds to nonprofit organizations that may duplicate programs to promote social, emotional and physical skills apparently already offered via the Special Programs group under the Instructional Department of the Isle of Wight County Schools.


Jose E Hernandez