In politics you win some and lose some, it’s the nature of the endeavor. However, at the latest King William B.O.S Budget meeting it was beyond anything I have witnessed in the years I have been a watchdog on government.
Supervisors Moskalski ( Sweet Hall ), Hodges ( West Point) and Greenwood ( Aylett) displayed today that they apparently have not an ounce of shame. Rewarding their public sector employee base is just in their nature, but to do it with local school officials knowingly presenting falsehoods to every person in the room went beyond what should ever be considered acceptable.
In the April 19th issue of the Country Courier newspaper , the King William T.E.A Party will present another ½ page paid ad detailing the misleading claims public school officials here in King William have become notorious for. We cite in our paid ad the actual number of full time employees ( FTE’s) in the schools going all the way back to 2005. The numbers taken from Virginia Dept. of Education’s website are as follows
2005-06 316 2009—10 327 2012—13 322 2014—15 327
DO YOU SEE ANY REDUCTION OF THE CLAIMED 42 FULL TIME POSITIONS ?
The morning began with Mangohick Supervisor Bob Ehrhart calling out the Schools’ repeated claims that they had eliminated 42 positions over the last 6-8 years. The Finance Director, there to answer the Boards budget question’s, at first pretended indignation when Supv. Ehrhart said she had misled the public and the Board with this claim.
Her next tactic was to admit to two errors she had made, then she moved onto how the State counts FTE positions differently than the county does, then the years on the Virginia Department of Education’s website ( where we found the numbers for our paid ad ) were different than the years she had in her hand.
At that point she then launched into a litany of antidotal blather about the number of ELS ( English as a second language students) and other points clearly intended to hide the central question at hand: the falsehood that the schools had eliminated the 42 positions.
When it was all said and done she could not account for more than at best a fictitious 17-19 positions eliminated– and by her own admission –most of them had already been added back. She never was able to escape what was crystal clear to everyone in that room—-the claim to having eliminated 42 positions that local school officials have touted for the last 4 years is patently false. This untruth was ripped bare exposing to anyone in that room, including the 5 members of King William’s Board that they and the public had been and continue to be lied to.
The school system had requested an additional 1.2 million dollars in local funding of which some $950,000 or 80 % was going directly into the pockets of pay raises and reimbursement for increasing health insurance premiums.
This isn’t just about the bloated public sector, or the factual matter of how the salaries and fringe benefit costs are drowning local tax coffers. No it is about a much more disturbing issue; the lack of integrity of top school officials including the School Board itself.
Not only do they tolerate the embellishment of the facts , they openly support taxpayers being fed misinformation and distorted costs if that’s what it takes to get the money. I have yet to hear one of them stand up and say….” We shouldn’t be doing this”
In spite of clear evidence that they had been lied to, Supvervisors. Moskalski, Greenwood & Hodges, went ahead and approved the entire requested increase. Ehrhart & Hansen were the only ones to challenge the falsehoods being perpetuated to squeeze the additional money out of King William’s taxpayers.
Perhaps the schools and the school board can take a victory lap, but each of them know the manner with which they secured the additional funds was a theft by deception, facilitated by 3 elected officials that knowingly participated in fraud.
What is wrong with politics ? Anyone in that room today witnessed it firsthand.
Bob Shannon King William