Mathews school board candidates discuss issues in Gwynn’s Island forum

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Oct 19, 2011 - 04:03 PM

Candidates for the Mathews County School Board addressed Gwynn’s Island residents during a forum last Thursday at the island’s civic league building.

Photo: Mathews School Board incumbent candidates, from left, Lanell Jarvis and Jen Little, prepare for last Thursday’s forum at the Gwynn’s Island Civic League as Judy Rowe, seated right, looks over audience questions and moderator Phillip Sanderson waits to begin. Also taking part were incumbent John Persinger and challengers Jeanice Sadler and Robert Sherrill, not pictured. Photo by Sherry Hamilton.

Mathews School Board incumbent candidates, from left, Lanell Jarvis and Jen Little, prepare for last Thursday’s forum at the Gwynn’s Island Civic League as Judy Rowe, seated right, looks over audience questions and moderator Phillip Sanderson waits to begin. Also taking part were incumbent John Persinger and challengers Jeanice Sadler and Robert Sherrill, not pictured. Photo by Sherry Hamilton.

In attendance were incumbents Jen Little, John Persinger and Lanell Jarvis, and challengers Robert Sherrill and Jeanice Sadler.

In a generally congenial session, perhaps the most contentious responses were given in answer to a question about why an unlicensed library attendant was in charge of the Mathews High School and Thomas Hunter Middle School libraries half of the time. The questioner pointed out that one librarian was serving both schools.

The incumbents all said it was an unfortunate but necessary action because of budget constraints.

"Is it acceptable?" said Persinger. "No, but it’s reality."

Sherrill agreed that the situation is reality, but charged that Mathews has an average of 11 students per teacher, and that if the ratio were increased to just 12 students per teacher, 10 positions could be cut. "You shouldn’t slash and burn," he said, "but we can’t maintain the staffing level."