Board holds off decision on school funding

by Quinton Sheppard - Posted on Sep 08, 2010 - 03:55 PM

The Gloucester County School Board will get its chance to sit down with the board of supervisors before the governing body makes a decision on whether to change the school division’s funding method.

Gloucester supervisors voted 5-2 during their regular meeting Tuesday night in the colonial courthouse to table a discussion and decision on the possible change from lump sum to categorical funding until the supervisors’ Oct. 5 meeting. At-large supervisor Michelle Ressler and Ware district supervisor Gregory Woodard voted against tabling the matter.

The decision followed a statement read by school board member Jay McGlohn and a citizen comment period where five people spoke, urging supervisors either to postpone the request until after dialogue could occur between the two boards, or to not consider the categorical funding method at all. One citizen, who has been a long-time advocate for categorical funding, spoke in favor of the method.

McGlohn said the school board had three main questions for the supervisors: "What is your purpose for changing the funding methodology?" "What are you trying to fix?" and "Why is the board of supervisors not willing to have a discussion with the school board on this topic?"

"Historically, lump-sum appropriation by the board of supervisors has worked," McGlohn said, adding that "the school board has always operated within appropriated funds from the board of supervisors.

"The school board has always ended each fiscal year with end-of-year savings," he continued. "We have no choice … Should we overspend, we could and would be charged with malfeasance." He said the school board has not asked supervisors in any fiscal year for additional appropriations due to overspending.

"We have been very frugal with taxpayer money," McGlohn added.