Isle of Wight School Board members get testy

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 21, 2007

ISLE OF WIGHT—Figuring out how to work the new computers the Isle of Wight School Board acquired last month to help reduce paperwork was not the only problem faced by the board this month.

Two board members, who disagreed on an issue, made it known emphatically, causing Chairman George Bradby to call a member of the sheriff’s department to the front of the room from his post in back to make sure order was maintained.

Member Herb DeGroft, who routinely questions almost all board issues, had requested information on a financial matter from Chief of Operations Steve Jenkins, who was attempting to answer.

Smithfield District member Barbara Olin, who did not seek re-election to the board, spoke up, accusing DeGroft of intimidating the school staff, as well as being inconsistent with his questions.

&uot;It is not necessary to go into all of these small, insignificant issues, when a summary will give us the information we need.&uot;

When DeGroft, who represents the Hardy District, started to interrupt, Olin, shot back, &uot;Let me finish.

I have just two more months on this board and I’m going to have my say.&uot;

In addition to Olin, one other member will not be returning to the board. Kevin Duck, representing the Windsor District, was narrowly defeated by Hayes Griffin.

The other seat up for re-election was retained by Bradby, while Olin’s seat was won by David Goodrich.

DeGroft had openly campaigned during the month prior to the election against both Duck and Bradby.

The chairman mentioned this at the beginning of the meeting.

&uot;I would like to say that we [Bradby and Duck] were disappointed to learn that one of our own was campaigning against us, but we’ll discuss that later in the meeting.&uot;

The issue was not brought up as such, however, and DeGroft seemed to ignore the reference to his non support.

Although tensions were high, Bradby gallantly tried to maintain some form of harmony.

After DeGroft had made a motion, which was being considered by the board, he then tried to amend the motion.

Bradby, in referring to the board’s new computers, joked, &uot;We haven’t learned how to do that yet.&uot;