IW defers school loan

Published 4:03 pm Saturday, April 9, 2011

By Dale Liesch

The Tidewater News

The Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors will delay accepting an interest-free, $7.5 million loan to build a new Windsor Middle School.

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During a budget discussion Thursday, officials with Isle of Wight County schools asked supervisors to consider the loan.

Smithfield District Supervisor Al Casteen suggested the board review the issue at another time, given the tough economic situation.

“We’re not ready to build a school,” Casteen said. “I’m not sure we need it at this time.”

Hardy District Supervisor JoAnn Hall agreed.

“I know we need the school, and I wish there was some way I could vote for it,” Hall said. “I just can’t do it.”

Supervisor Kenneth Bunch, who represents the Carrsville District, said a new school could help attract business to the county following last summer’s closing of International Paper in Franklin.

“I don’t see how we cannot build the school,” Bunch said.

Though the board will postpone accepting the bond, members approved $350,000 to be used for engineering and architecture plans for the project.

County spokesman Don Robertson said the board still supports the project, but would like to have more information on it before it moves forward with any plans.

Robertson said the board is looking for more information and advice from the schools’ financial consulting firm.

The loan was half of the $15 million available and has been set aside while the board contemplates whether or not to accept it.