Turner did his best

Published 10:45 am Saturday, January 28, 2012

We give Southampton County Schools Superintendent Charles Turner credit for so passionately attempting to convince the Board of Supervisors to return unspent dollars to the school district.

Turner, who in June will retire after a 40-plus year career in education and 13 years at the helm, could’ve just thrown up his hands when supervisors questioned him about how the $1.6 million would be spent. But, he didn’t.

Turner agreed to do whatever it takes to get through the school year without disrupting the education process.

Law requires school districts to annually return unspent budget dollars to county coffers. And for 16 years, the county has turned around and given that money back to the district for its upcoming budget. So this is what Turner expected.

Instead of just returning the money, the Board of Supervisors went into a more than hour-long discussion concerning school spending. At one point, it was suggested supervisors delay giving back any of the money until they could discuss it further.

Turner told the board this would result in layoffs of teachers and teaching assistants, an increase in class sizes and the elimination of electives, extra curricular activities and the sports program. He hoped to avoid disruption in the school year.

In the end, supervisors voted unanimously to return $1.1 million. If the school district can prove it needs the extra $500,000, the board would consider it. That $500,000 had been set aside for new school buses.

Turner showed he was willing to work with the Board and showed great passion for the students in Southampton County.