Letter – Dial’s criticism missed the mark

Published 3:59 pm Friday, September 15, 2023

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To the Editor:

Ms. Renee Dial was an appointed, not elected, Isle of Wight School Board member from mid-2021 through December 2022 for the Carrollton District. She ran for that seat in the fall of 2022 but was not elected.

In her Aug. 12 letter to the editor (“Supervisors shirk schools”), she stated, ”Isle of Wight Schools are barely keeping the lights on.” Really? In July 2022, the schools returned $968,429, after all bills, including electricity, were paid in full. She goes on to say that “the Board of Supervisors is improperly funding the schools.” Then why have county supervisors provided enough funding that the schools were able to refund monies back to the county from 2017 through 2022?  

The percentages used in her letter are also wrong. The audited 2022 schools budget shows that the actual federal contribution was $11 million, or 14%, not 3%-5%, and the county contributed $26.9 million, which is 35% of that $77.3 million annual budget. That’s $13,705 per student (Virginia Department of Education website) as compared to Isle of Wight Academy’s $7,050 tuition (its website).

She goes on to claim that the county board’s current annual funding is less than pre-pandemic. Isn’t $30.1 million this year more than 2019’s $26.3 million? But Ms. Dial best demonstrates her financial acumen with her review and approval of the school budget for 2022-23, which, according to school officials, was overspent by $2.2 million, they think. But what the heck. It’s just taxpayer money and, according to her, we should be collecting and spending more.  

After several other Pinocchios, and with this stellar political record, she goes on to endorse Ms. Tracy Hendrix for the Board of Supervisors — someone who must be like-minded to have Ms. Dial’s support. Should Dial’s endorsed Ms. Hendrix be elected, she will have authority over your local tax rates.   

For eight years Supervisor William McCarty has always supported our schools, but he does it knowing and understanding the real numbers. He too is running this November. I know him to be a compassionate conservative, supporting not only schools but other essential county services. District 2 has two additional sheriff’s deputies because of him. Unlike Ms. Dial and her endorsee, he believes in spending wisely, within our county’s means. Vote for Supervisor McCarty as your District 2 supervisor and keep your money in your wallet.  

Richard “Dick” Grice

Isle of Wight County District 1 supervisor