New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | November 21, 2018

Editorial: It’s time for Charles City’s school board and county supervisors to sit down and talk

By Andre Jones | May 16, 2018 12:24 am

With tension mounting between Charles City’s Board of Supervisors and Charles City’s School Board, it’s time for both boards to sit down and talk.

This tension isn’t all negative, but the presence was felt at Tuesday night’s board of supervisors meeting. With speakers voicing concerns about the funds for schools while supervisors explained their viewpoints and stance, there is a line of communication that needs to be re-established.

While staff of the Chronicle appreciates being quoted and referenced, county leaders and school leaders must re-engage in face-to-face interaction instead of trading comments through print media. While it does make for an interesting and informative story, it also halts progress.

As a lifelong citizen of Charles City, I want the county and schools to both grow. That takes time and effort. It takes patience. The problem is that the county is so far behind in development that other localities are capitalizing off businesses moving in. In turn, the trickle-down effect plays a role on revenue in the county. That revenue must be dispersed by county supervisors to help the locality function. That is what the budget process is for.

The schools are one of the entities that must receive funds to operate. Schools can only grow so much, but with limited financial resources, county leaders can only do so much as well. Once those funds are dispersed to the schools, it is the school board members obligation to use what they have to assist with school operations.

But roadblocks and hurdles remain in the way. A lack of county revenue hurts all parties, not just schools. Funding from the state and federal level also continues to decrease, hurting smaller localities like Charles City. If Charles City had any additional funds from those levels, a sound investment into infrastructure could turn things around in a few years. In turn, schools could benefit from more local revenue and not have to worry about their needs.

Let me be fair; both the schools and board of supervisors in Charles City are doing their job and it’s a difficult one. The problem is that while they are fighting for what they believe is right, they aren’t keeping that line of dialogue open. A few years ago, a DECIDESMART committee was created to assist both boards in working together. The result included consolidating a few services such as maintenance at the bus garage to work on all county vehicles and public works taking care of the grounds-keeping duties.

Simply put, it’s time for both boards to hash out their differences in a face-to-face meeting. Grievances must be aired out and let both parties speak about the difficulties and successes on both sides. Only then will a clear path for the future of the younger generation emerge.