Repetitive questions disappointing

Disappointed.

That is how one member of the Patrick County School Board said he felt after learning expenses from a previous school budget still were being scrutinized by a member of the Patrick County Board of Supervisors.

“I was very disappointed to read that” said Walter Scott, who represents the Smith River District on the school board.

Scott, who is in the first year of his first term and took his seat on the board in January, was referring to a question raised by supervisor Karl Weiss, who represents the Blue Ridge District.

Weiss said he had asked for additional information about the $4,300 cost of a speaker at a retreat that included 15 people and another $2,500 expense for a speaker who addressed 42 people at a different event.

Weiss said the questions were fair and about accountability of how public funds were spent.

Since he did not receive an answer to his questions, Weiss in June voted against a $756,435.48 budget request from the school division. The funds were part of the school division’s initial appropriation for the current fiscal year, and had been previously appropriated by the supervisors.

A majority of the supervisors voted for the budget allocation, and Scott said he was disappointed to learn why Weiss voted against the request.

Noting the funds questioned by Weiss had been paid in a previous budget cycle, approved by a previous school board, and not part of the fiscal 2018-19 budget, Scott said that neither he nor Brandon Simmons, who also took his seat on the school board in January, had any input in or control of previous budgets.

Scott said he and Simmons, of the Dan River District, both were involved in helping to oversee the fiscal 18-19 budget that started on July 1, and he has no problem being held accountable for how those funds are spent.

Scott said he and Simmons “have been working hard to make changes, and we are making changes” since taking their respective seats on the school board.

But, he said, those changes are in the present. There is no way to change the past, or to move forward while clinging to it.

The supervisors have said they want to work together with their counterparts on the school board, Scott said, adding “the way to work together is not throwing punches at each other. “I’m sure if I dug around enough through what they (supervisors) are doing, I could find a lot to question too.”

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