IW jobs restored — for now

Published 11:33 pm Friday, March 25, 2011

By Emily Collins

Contributing Writer

The Isle of Wight County School Board agreed during a work session this week to retain 60 positions that were previously cut from the 2011-2012 budget.

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

Vice chairman T. Hayes Griffin said the School Board should not try to decide where the funds will come from.

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

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

Library clerks, lead teachers and instructional 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 hadn’t missed 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 are 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, something that parents had asked for during public hearings earlier this year.