2018-02-28 / Letters

School Board needs fiscal discipline

Regarding the different funding priorities of the Board of Supervisors and the county School Board [“County boards splinter, feud over budget,” Feb. 7], Supervisor Steve Elswick is correct when he stated that the school division has a problem – not with adequate funding, but with spending and the inability to differentiate between needs and wants.

For over 20 years, the school system has, through multiple School Boards and superintendents, underfunded the supplemental retirement plan while funding extraneous expenditures unrelated to the core mission of education. The Chesterfield Career and Technical Center at Hull Street Road is a lavish monument to this unfortunate history. As the Observer has reported, the Board of Supervisors, through its amendments to the SRP, has dragged the school division kicking and screaming toward accountability and fiscal integrity.

If the School Board had not mismanaged the SRP, that $100 million may have been available for more of School Board member Javaid Siddiqi’s priorities.

Now, the School Board suggests that changing start times is a priority that should be funded over continued efforts to reduce pupil-teacher ratios. If this initiative is in fact a need and not a want, what analysis compels prioritizing it over staffing teachers?

Todd Knode

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