School money dispute center stage in Portsmouth

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Money was center stage Thursday during a heated school board meeting in Portsmouth. Monday, WAVY News reported the school board is having an outside auditor look over how the district handles its finances.

Thursday, fireworks sparked over money given from city council to the school board. For background, city council provides budget money for the school board. If there is money leftover in the school board budget, it is supposed to go back to the council.

Council says it found $1.3 million leftover that needs to come back.

However, board members say the city manager and council are playing politics by asking for the money back. They say the extra money goes to things like textbooks and school programs.

“Every dime was accounted for, it all went into the system, there is no money in anyone’s pocket. It may not have all been turned in correctly at the end of the year but that’s not going to happen ever again, you can rest assured of that,” said school board member Costella Williams.

“Every time that this board or this administration has tried to extend an olive branch to the City, we’ve been beat about the head with it,” said Keith Nance, also a member of the school board.

“We just need to tone down the rhetoric. It is about our children, we have some very valuable programs that are on the cutting block and I’m concerned with that. My issue is one, I support our school board 100 percent, I applaud what they are doing,” said Mayor Kenny Wright.

The board voted Thursday to give $942,000 back to the city.

Superintendent David Stuckwisch has taken the most of the heat for the way the money in the budget has been spent.

Board members announced Thursday that Stuckwisch will retire June 30. He was scheduled to retire in August.

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