Grants fund teacher jobs

Published 9:45 am Saturday, April 11, 2009

ISLE OF WIGHT—The fiscal year 2010 budget for Isle of Wight County schools was adjusted Thursday by the School Board to reflect a reduction in county funding, as well as $1.8 million that is expected from the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund.

The county reduction totaled $775,000 more than what the school board projected when it approved the budget in March. In addition, county debt service restructuring will delay $1.1 million in school debt payments, and the School Board will have to wait until October to formally ask the Board of Supervisors for carryover funds from the 2008 and 2009 fiscal years.

The School Board voted to fund 27 teacher positions with the SFSF grants. Funding the positions with the grants allows the restoration of funding for 5.5 school office and library clerical positions, as well as funding for deferred maintenance issues, maintaining equipment replacement cycles, teacher tuition reimbursement and classroom supply accounts. Carrsville Elementary School will also be able to have an assistant principal for part of the week.

“[The state has] indicated that there are a number of uses that could be approved,” said Superintendent Michael McPherson of the SFSF funds, which are provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Salaries for teachers, support personnel and administrative staff are some of those uses.

Still, the grants may not be available in a few years and allocations should be made with that in mind, said McPherson, who added that every effort is being made to ensure that teacher-student ratios and classroom sizes remain close to current levels as much as possible, and also so support can be provided to students who need special assistance.

“I still think we need to minimize the impact of layoffs. I think that’s where it really needs to stay, in the classrooms and in the schools,” said school board member Herb DeGroft, who voted against the amendment, about the SFSF funds.

Students and staff members were also recognized during the meeting for their achievements. Dawn Carroll was recognized as the school division’s 2009 Teacher of the Year. Carroll is a reading intervention teacher at Windsor High School.

The next school board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 14, at 7 p.m.