Jobs restored for now

Published 9:30 am Friday, March 25, 2011


WINDSOR—The Isle of Wight County School Board agreed at a work session Wednesday to retain 60 positions that were previously cut from the 2011-2012 budget.

“We need the instructional personnel,” said board Chairman David Goodrich.

Vice Chairman T. Hayes Griffin said the school board should not try to decide from where the funds will come.

“We need to make a budget that we think is fair to take to the Board of Supervisors,” he said.

Board member George Bradby said, “we need to say this is what we need,” and leave it up to those who appropriate funds to make cuts.

County spokesman Don Robertson couldn’t say whether the county would have the money to keep these positions because it is too soon in the budgeting process.

Library clerks, lead teachers and instruction assistants were among the positions being considered for elimination. These jobs are not state-funded.

At Wednesday’s session, board member Herbert DeGroft suggested several potential cuts, which he said totaled $2.5 million.

The proposed budget for next year is $57.6 million, a $1.03 million decrease from 2010-2011.

Goodrich asked DeGroft to make motions for his suggestions, however, DeGroft said making those motions would be assuming he didn’t miss anything, and he said he couldn’t be sure.

In turn, DeGroft moved to vote on only a few of the suggestions.

Two of DeGroft’s motions were to eliminate the public information officer position and cut step increases, which include built-in raises for school employees.

“Our people have gone too long (without raises),” Goodrich said. “They deserve it. If we don’t value our employees, we don’t need to be sitting here.”

Board member Robert Eley said he hopes the Board of Supervisors will have money to allow step increases for employees.

“If we are going to give anything, we have to give it to everyone,” DeGroft said.

He said it would be “foolhardy” from a business standpoint to give raises to all employees while not cutting any jobs.

DeGroft also moved to reduce textbook funds, cut the technology budget and eliminate the electronic school board costs.

All of DeGroft’s motions were voted down 4-1. DeGroft cast the dissenting vote for each.

Also at the work session, the board voted to include funding for the band programs at Windsor and Smithfield High schools.

Goodrich made the motion and said he was not proposing how much funding or from where the money would come.

He said he wanted to include the funding after numerous teachers, parents and students expressed concern about the programs’ futures at a public hearing Monday.