Think clearly about schools’ expansion

Published 9:11 am Monday, February 27, 2017

As we’ve already reported, the Isle of Wight County School Division had recently unveiled an impressive plan to expand learning opportunities at both Windsor and Smithfield high schools. The vision includes renovating facilities, such as a cafeteria and media center. More importantly, in-house courses would be devoted to teaching skills needed in professions related to agriculture, carpentry, cosmetology, culinary arts and nurse’s aides.

Of course, quality programs don’t come cheaply — $3 million for Windsor — which then brings up the overriding issue of money. Aside from any money saved for the project, which the division has said will come from the funds it would have otherwise spent on outsourcing its career and tech courses to the Pruden Center, what will be the next source?

Isle of Wight County residents, of course. That’s not a surprise. So it’s up to those people to decide if they’re willing to support the vision through higher taxes, or the county taking on more debt that takes years, even decades, to pay just for the construction costs, never mind future maintenance.

It’s encouraging that during a recent public hearing, several people have already expressed support for the expansion. But there are still the hurdles of another hearing and convincing the board of supervisors that the plan is worthy.

We urge all those interested persons to clearly think about the practical matters of realizing a vision and then let their thoughts be known via the meetings or through calls, letters and emails.