Editorial: Why I chose to speak at Charles City School Board’s budget public hearing
As a reporter/writer/editor of a local community, my goal is to provide unbiased coverage on the news that effects Charles City and New Kent County. Sometimes, that becomes difficult as there are issues that impact me as a citizen. When those take place, I take a step back and allow others to write the story so that the reporting is fair and equal. That was the case and a reason why I spoke at Charles City School Board’s budget hearing Tuesday night.
While I was the only speaker at the meeting, my heart had been tugging for me to say something in support of the county and the school system that raised me. One of the things I wrestle with as a former student-athlete and coach is the facilities athletes can compete in. I began coaching track and field at the high school in the late 2000s and I knew in time there would be a need to resurface the track down to its core. In 2014, the school implemented into the CIP the plan to complete it in Summer 2018. But with mounting costs and requirements of Virginia’s Department of Environment Quality (DEQ) to fix the wastewater plant at Kimages, the county’s board of supervisors shifted priorities there and the track was abandoned. When the track wasn’t mentioned in the 2019-20 edition of the school’s CIP, that is when I knew I had to speak up as a citizen of Charles City.
Now let’s get down to a few things. First of all, I have no problem with what the board of supervisors did last year with the money to support the wastewater plant. The county’s leaders have tough decisions to make and have to balance funds of the county that are in the best interest. However, I am hoping that dialogue between county leaders and school leaders will remain open about the issue involving the track (you can read about it in this edition of the Chronicle).
Looking at funding, the Kimages plant cost roughly $700,000 to repair. With that said, I am electing to use logic on where that money could go if the project isn’t completed and how the CIP may look from the county in FY2019-20. Reflecting on history, infrastructure for a new tower to provide Internet to the county will probably be part of those funds. Another big ticket item I expect to be part of the proposed county’s CIP is either the renovation or proposed construction of a new fire station in the county for the continued implementation of paid firefighters. If the renovation route is chosen, it will provide bedding and adequate space.
As I mentioned, I know there are a lot of things going on and a lot of projects and requests from departments. My goal and hope is to see the school and county leaders compromise and make at least one sacrifice to resurface the track. Athletics are important to the students and its important to me as a citizen and I do not want to have to write another article about why sports are dissipating in Charles City because of the lack of facilities and not the number of students. Is there going to be an expensive cost to get the project done? It is. But is the outlet for the kids to compete on, citizens to exercise on, and events to highlight Charles City worth the cost over at least a decade? I believe so.
I know it’s only my voice and only a statement from me, but sometimes you have to say what’s on your mind and pray that something good happens, even if it’s as simple as one person reading this article and hearing my voice.