Archived Story

IOW supervisors approve carryover plan for schools

Published 12:34pm Saturday, March 23, 2013

BY STEPHEN H. COWLES/CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Playback58@gmail.com

ISLE OF WIGHT—After receiving assurance that Isle of Wight County teachers would get paid through the end of the school year, the county’s five supervisors unanimously agreed to a recommendation in handling a carryover of school purchase orders from fiscal year 2011-12.

“I can guarantee teachers will get paid,” IOW Budget and Finance Director Michael Terry said to address Board Chairwoman JoAnn Hall’s concern.

First, at issue was $2.1 million that went back to the county automatically on June 30, 2012. Virginia law requires schools systems return all unspent money to their respective governing bodies at the end of the fiscal year.

However, in the last month before the deadline, the IOW schools had contracted $1.4 worth of goods and services. Some examples of these could be for buses, iPads, custodial services and supplies for offices and teachers, said Terry and Don Robertson, the county’s spokesman.

The contracts had apparently been made with the understanding that the county would return the money to the schools, which has reportedly been a tradition between the two boards.

Without that money, came the school board’s concern that schools could not meet payroll for May and June.

In Terry’s report to the board Thursday, the staff review noted that schools gave written evidence that the majority of the purchase orders hadn’t been received by June 30, 2012.

He presented two options for the board.

The first plan would approve carryover of the $1.4 million plus $65,656 in textbook funds.

The second option, which Terry recommended and was approved, would:

  • Direct county staff to formally ask the county treasurer to transfer $2.1 million from the school’s local account to the county’s local account;
  • Direct county staff to formally ask the board of supervisors to re-appropriate $112,214 ($46,649 in open purchase orders plus $65,565 in textbook funds) to the school board’s local account;
  • Direct county staff to formally ask the county treasurer to re-appropriate that $112,214 to the schools;
  • Do not approve the $1.4 million remainder of the requested open purchase order carryover;
  • Request schools give the county treasurer and staff, by April 13, the financial projections of cash needed to ensure the school board has enough to pay teachers for the remainder of fiscal year 2012-13;
  • Request county staff and treasurer to create a contingency plan for maintaining enough cash reserves to help the school board in eliminating the temporary cash flow deficit for teachers’ salaries for fiscal year 2012-13.

There was no question about being able to pay the teachers, said Smithfield Supervisor Al Casteen to The Tidewater News.

“I think we have to take firm stand in dealing with the matter. The school’s credibility is in question,” he added.

Carrsville Supervisor Rex Alphin said the issue of returning any more money to the schools is still to be decided.

“My hope that we will not go down that road again, and that it’s a one-time situation. We’ll take a new look at things and initiate a new procedure,” said Alphin. “I think I speak with the board on that.”

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