Bad idea in Isle of Wight

Published 9:05 am Saturday, March 13, 2010

Isle of Wight County school officials have stirred a hornet’s nest with a proposal to close Windsor Middle School as a means of dealing with state budget cuts.

Parents and students let the school board know their displeasure by turning out in force Thursday night at a public hearing on the school division’s proposed budget.

We understand the bleak fiscal climate for public education and the need for substantive cuts to balance the budget. Isle of Wight isn’t the only area division looking at closing campuses. The Suffolk School Board has pondered closing three elementary schools.

Still, Isle of Wight should explore every avenue for reducing spending before it takes the radical step of closing a school. That includes a fresh look at consolidation of some administrative services with county government. The school board has been dismissive of that possibility, which county supervisors have been advocating for months.

The school board claims that consolidation of functions like accounting and human resources would not save money. That’s illogical to us. Consolidated services surely would require fewer employees, freeing up administrative funds to be used on classroom instruction.

Education funding cuts should be borne by administrators and bureaucrats, not by the teachers and students who are the heart of the educational process. Isle of Wight’s School Board needs to go back to the drawing board.