Grimsley report: Intelligent, organized, lucid

By Bill Dietel

My wife Linda and I read the report of our Rappahannock County School Superintendent Shannon Grimsley, “To the Stakeholders,” with great interest and appreciation. It is the clearest, most informative report on the schools’ annual budget that we have seen in 37 years. We especially appreciate the intelligent, organized, lucid presentation of the state of our public schools. We have longed for an annual budget report that begins with a precise statement of the schools’ educational goals for our children and a candid and persuasive argument for its budget recommendations.

In past years too often we have received little more than a mass of numbers with no clear connection made to the schools’ educational goals. Transparency has been lacking in the explanation of the budget reductions and additions. We also lacked comparative figures for previous years from other comparable school systems. Further, not all of us remember from one year to the next the exact way in which the contributions of funds are figured for the financial contributions of the national, state, and local government entities. We have also wanted an honest, comprehensive accounting of the academic achievements of our students as compared to state standards. Finally, the clarification of the difference between the operating and the capital budgets is most welcome.

Mrs. Grimsley and her team are doing exactly what the citizenry should expect from our school administrators. You have made abundantly clear the rationale for your financial needs and it is compelling. We must now pay for the deferred maintenance that we have kicked down the road year after year. Some of us have been warning that a day of reckoning would eventually come; it has arrived.

We note with particular admiration the success you and your colleagues have had in bringing in new funds from philanthropic sources to help with the schools finances. Congratulations are in order for Mrs. Grimsley and her colleagues. We also want to acknowledge the hard work of the School Board and its Chairman Wes Mills. They too deserve to be applauded.

Finally, in Mrs. Grimsley we have a leader who is building energetic, creative teams of teachers and staff who are dedicated to the hard work of education. They deserve the solid and enthusiastic support of the citizens of the county and we urge all of you who regard a first rate education system for our children as a first priority for county budget for 2019 to be present at the next Supervisors’ meeting to make known your support for our public schools.

— The writer lives in Flint Hill

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