Isle of Wight County schools budgeted to get $27.2M

Published 7:11 pm Tuesday, May 14, 2019

[Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part story concerning the county’s budget.]


Isle of Wight County Schools is budgeted to receive roughly $27.22 million in local funding from the county. This is $948,106 more than the $26.27 million the school division received this year from the county, but only about half of the roughly $1.9-million increase the division had requested for the 2019-2020 school year. As a result, the county’s School Board must cut about $1 million from the $66.3 million budget it adopted and sent to the Board of Supervisors in March.

As of the School Board’s meeting on April 11, the division is now planning to do away with its plans to hire an additional high school career and technical education teacher, which had been budgeted to reduce class sizes. Additional planned hires that have been cut include one math teacher at Windsor High School, one eighth grade teacher at Georgie D. Tyler Middle School, one in-school-suspension teacher for either GTMS or WHS so the two schools no longer have to share that position, one high school finance teacher, and three elementary school STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) teachers, to include the environmental science program and teacher proposed for Windsor Elementary School. Also cut was funding for all 10th graders to take the PSATs.

According to Lynn Briggs, the division’s director of community and media relations, county administrator Randy Keaton based his offer of a $948,106 increase in local funding on what the division had estimated would be necessary to fund all of its state-mandated expenditures, plus its proposed supplemental pay and support staff raises.

At the April 25 public hearing on the county’s proposed budget, several county residents, including IWCS Superintendent Dr. Jim Thornton, School Board Vice Chairwoman Jackie Carr, other IWCS employees and parents urged the Board of Supervisors to at least fund the four new elementary school STEM teachers the division had proposed, if not the full $1.9 million increase in local funding it had requested. Others felt that renovating or replacing Hardy and Westside elementary schools should be bigger priorities than STEM.

The county has also planned for a capital budget of $5.8 million, which is intended to fund projects included in the county’s 2019-2028 Capital Improvements Program expected to begin in fiscal year 2019-2020. These include HVAC upgrades at Smithfield High School, preliminary work needed to create a plan to renovate or replace Hardy Elementary School, the construction of a new Route 10 water line and continued support for the county’s volunteer emergency response organizations.

Keaton added that the county’s capital budget is fully funded with no additional borrowing required, and that the county’s debt service payments have stabilized and will gradually start declining in fiscal year 2020-20201. Total debt payments in fiscal year 2019-2020 will be $12.6 million, $7.4 million of which will be principal.