Letter – Naughty and nice

Published 5:08 pm Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Top of the Naughty List:

  • Denise Tynes: 1) Orchestrated “golden parachute” payouts to departing Superintendents Katrise Perera and James Thornton of roughly $100K (combined) for their “unused sick leave days,” in my opinion violating Isle of Wight County Schools policy applicable to ALL employees at partial $30 per day, not full per diem like Thornton’s at $770-plus per day!  2) In my opinion, with some IWCS central office staff,etc., they used a bogus CTE resolution to name IWCS’ CTE building after a “live” Thornton, violating policy FFA.
  • Second is Dr. Theo Cramer, who 1) certified to Virginia Department of Education the optional 2% raise for “SOQ authorized” employees (not deputy superintendents by VAC 22.1-253.13:2) on Oct. 27 and certified local match without knowledge or approval of IWCS board or our Board of Supervisors. My opinion, he exceeded his authority.  2) Overspent IWCS FY 23 budgeted funds by $500K and now wants 2% raise for ALL IWCS employees while IWCS student SOL scores deteriorate overall and IWCS ranking amongst 130-plus school divisions falls. Shame on him. 3) Cramer’s actions now places IWCS Board on this list because he “forced” them to vote on Nov. 8 on what he told them to do and placed a BURDEN (Jason Maresh’s word from Sept. 14 board meeting) on the supervisors wherein us taxpayers are come up with 2% raises for not only SOQ employees, but for ALL employees that’ll cost us almost $500K … what was overspent by Cramer last year. Ironic and inexcusable.

Now for the Nice List:

  • Heidi Swartz and Mark Wooster for finding the “real” June 11, 2015, FFA policy on IWCS’ website on naming schools/facilities. 
  • Wooster, John Collick and Jason Maresh on rescinding the vote renaming CTE building after Thornton and likewise to rescind the board’s pay raise because of FY 23 deficit.
  • Our supervisors: They determine all policies and ordinances that govern the county and appropriate funds for county programs through an annual budget. The supervisors’ website shows they appropriated $3.36M to Cramer’s budget for FY 24, a +12.42% that Dr. Cramer used for 5% raises in FY 24. Our sups don’t direct raises for IWCS employees! 
  • Sups for following their policies, unlike past IWCS boards when they violated policy and made policy violating payouts to former superintendents.  

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Herb De Groft