IW schools to cut staff

Published 9:39 pm Monday, June 17, 2013

Isle of Wight County Public Schools will cut 21 jobs, including eight teachers from prior to the next school year, School Board members learned last week.

The losses are the result of the back-and-forth struggle for money from the Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors. After presenting an approved budget in late March, the supervisors demanded the schools continue to cut. Ultimately, the schools will receive $24.2 million county support toward the system’s $55-million total budget. The $4 million reduction from the current fiscal year funding level required the School Board make reductions where necessary.

Teachers and staff who will lose their jobs already have been informed they will not be coming back, said Director of Human Resources Dr. Phil Jepson.

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During last week’s School Board meeting, the controversial remarks and emails of member Herb DeGroft continued to be an issue of public concern and debate.

During citizens’ time to address the board, Neal Johnson of Smithfield and Bill McCarty of Carrollton both asked DeGroft, who represents the Hardy District, to resign.

“What part of ‘resign’ do you not understand?” Johnson asked. “Put pride aside.”

He and McCarty were addressing DeGroft’s part in circulating controversial emails that contained crude humor. The emails were publicly exposed in May, and other demands have been repeatedly made for DeGroft and Byron “Buzz” Bailey, Newport District supervisor, to step down.

Both men have apologized, but they are both staying put for now. DeGroft announced recently that he would not seek reelection.

“It’s over. It’s done with. Forget it and go on,” said Shelly Perry of Smithfield. “I, for one, want you to stay. How the board is treating him now is wrong.”