Spring ritual under way

Published 9:57 am Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Now that the annual negotiations over a budget have begun between the Southampton County School Board and Board of Supervisors, there are two things that are certain; the school board is going to say it needs more money than last year, and the board of supervisors will say it can’t afford to give even as much.

Both will probably be telling the truth.

This dance has become as predictable a spring ritual in this part of Virginia as the blooming of azaleas and dogwoods. Unlike years past, however, we’re going to weigh in with a little advice for both parties.

To the school board, if it appears spending cuts are likely, don’t try to scare the pants off parents and students by reducing the cuts to loss of instructional staff. There have got to be areas in the school system to make cuts, if necessary, that come from administration or support.

To the board of supervisors, don’t dismiss requests for additional funds. Examine what they would go toward, and then make an honest attempt to find the money.

And to both parties, find a way to work together constructively and include the taxpayers in the process. County taxpayers feel as though they don’t have a voice in the process, and it’s because they actually don’t have a voice in the current process.

Neither party, although most of the individuals who comprise both seem to have the best of intentions, are particularly popular among voters and taxpayers. An open, honest dialogue between both boards, one that is transparent to the taxpayer, would go a long way.