Letter – Wise delay on budget

Published 6:31 pm Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

After reading “Isle of Wight supervisors delay budget vote” on SmithfieldTimes.com, I’d like to say “thanks” to them for delaying a vote until the governor signs the state budget on May 15. 

Supervisor William McCarty thinks there’s a way to reduce some of Isle of Wight County Schools’ funding increases. Superintendent Dr. Theo Cramer “wants” supervisors to give over $12 million more this year counting operations and one-time capital expenses. IWCS is to return $345,717 to the county as of June 30, as part of the $703,000 deficit overspent from FY 23’s budget. Dr. Cramer recently publicly stated that “in the past buses were purchased using ESSER funds.” He approved the purchase of two buses for $255,718 using ASR ESSER III funds on May 10, 2023. As of April 30, 2024, there’s $780,000 left in those funds to purchase five more buses, saving $735,000 for taxpayers. The $345,000 and $735,000 total $1.08 million!   This helps decrease the need to up real estate taxes. 

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Some taxpayers think the School Board works for Dr. Cramer. If that’s not true, Chairman Jason Maresh needs to have a called board meeting by May 15 on purchasing five buses using left-over ASR ESSER III funds. 

As for the $9.5 million in one-time expenses, Dr. Cramer knows to put all “capital projects” over $50,000 into IWCS’ annual CIP, spacing them out over 10 years. This decreases the tax burden on citizens. 

I disagree with Supervisors McCarty’s and Renee Rountree’s discussion about giving lump sum funding instead of categorically, as has been done for years. Recently, Supervisor McCarty asked, “Dr. Cramer, why was there an increase of $2 million in Transportation category this year from last year?” Dr. Cramer answered, “Our CFO is not here tonight and we believe that is not correct.” If he believed the number was incorrect, why did he not inform the supervisors? 

Dr. Cramer, like Dr. Jim Thornton before him, cannot be trusted with lump sum budgets.  

Example: He wants two reading specialists and and a SPED inclusion teacher in three schools where the state-required ratio of 20 students to one teacher state has not been met. No positions should be funded unless they meet state requirements. Why are supervisors being asked to fund positions not meeting state funding requirements?

Please, Board of Supervisors members, help us taxpayers! 


Herb De Groft