Bath Supervisors assure funding to remain for Millboro preschool
Hot Springs, Va. –
The Bath Board of Supervisors assures the School Board that funding will be available for programs, including a preschool class at Millboro Elementary. At Tuesday night’s Bath Board of Supervisors meeting, the Board passed a motion made by Supervisor Cliff Gilchrest. It stated that the Board will work closely with the School Board. And will assure them that programs the School Board sees as necessary to advance the education of children in Bath County will be funded, if by the end of the year the School Board’s resources are stretched to the limit.
His motion passed with three votes in favor, but Supervisor Bart Perdue voted no and Supervisor Claire Collins abstained.
Gilchrest originally made a motion stating that the Board would work closely with the School Board to assure that there is funding available for the Millboro preschool program. Collins asked that he consider amending that particular motion because the Board of Supervisors doesn’t fund specific programs. She said the School Board determines how funds are spent. Gilchrest then made another motion that was voted on and passed.
During discussion before the vote, Collins asked why the preschool class is starting now and not last fall when it was first requested by parents. She said she didn’t understand why there are not enough funds available for this program. Collins said if funds are available now, preschool should start now. And if funding is needed by the end of the year, the School Board could come back to the Board of Supervisors to request more money. Collins said she felt children were let down by the School Board since it did not start preschool earlier in the year.
Interim County Administrator Bill O’Brien said the Board of Supervisors was not approving a school program. He said the Board is asking the School Board to attempt to find money in this year’s budget for the program. And if at end of the fiscal year, money cannot be found in the current budget the Board of Supervisors is giving the School Board assurances that money will be forthcoming to make sure any program has funding.
School Superintendent Sue Hirsh explained that it took time to determine if there were enough students in Millboro to create the program this year and sustain it next year.
Hirsh said this arrangement is unique, because she is not accustomed to spending money that has not been appropriated. She said she would seek legal counsel to give her board before moving forward. There is the concern that the School Board may not legally be able to spend money it doesn’t have.
Board Chair Bruce McWilliams said the Board of Supervisors’ intent is to support the program. He said the funding will be there since there will be money left over at the end of the year in the school budget and additional unanticipated revenue is also coming in to the schools.
For more from Tuesday night’s Bath Board of Supervisors meeting tune into Noon Hour on Thursday.