School Superintendent Dr. Ray Butrum responded on Wednesday to Bedford County Board of Commissioners' vote Tuesday night which failed to pass a school system budget amendment funding new teachers.
"I am disturbed by the lack of understanding of our county commission and their role in not approving a simple budget amendment, already approved by the full [school] board and the budget and finance committee," said Butrum in a text message to the Times-Gazette on Wednesday.
The Financial Management Committee, of which Butrum is a member, did not recommend the amendment but -- according to its minutes -- voted Aug. 28 to pass it on to the full county commission without a recommendation, positive or negative. The school board passed the amendment by a vote of 7-1-1 at its Aug. 13 special called meeting. Diane Neeley voted no and Andrea Anderson passed.
"This severely interferes with the efficient and effective operation of our school system. All of our elementary schools exist with a majority of their populations at risk," said Butrum. "They are all at the point of noncompliance with K-3 class sizes of 19.3 or higher. Once that average goes over 20, we can be fined $50,000 per class."
Butrum was unable to attend Tuesday night's commission meeting due to a statewide school superintendents' meeting.
The commission voted on the school system budget amendment and failed to pass it, with seven in favor, six opposed and four abstentions. A 10-vote majority of the full commission was required for passage. Commissioners had questions about the reason for the teacher hiring and for the dismissal of teacher aides and temporary teachers who had been hired earlier in the year.