Election ad elicits mixed reaction

An ad in an area publication supporting a Shenandoah County supervisor’s re-election bid has prompted some to question its meaning.

Dan Walsh, president of Parents’ Alliance for Strong Schools, said he feels the ad in support of county Supervisor Cindy Bailey is misleading.

The ad reads:

Control How Our Tax $$$ are being spent

  • Raises for our teachers, school staff & bus drivers
  • Money for class supplies

The BOS needs to take responsibility and oversee school spending!

Support Cindy Bailey for District 4 Supervisor

The ad states it was authorized by and paid for by Cindy Bailey for BOS.

“When politicians publish a list of initiatives it is taken as something you support,” Walsh said.

“People would assume you support teacher raises and money for class supplies.”

He said he does not think she has changed her position

“She is trying to have it both ways,” Walsh said.

Bailey did not respond to calls made on Thursday or Monday seeking comment.

She has in the past advocated for fiscal responsibility and budgetary restraint, declining to increase taxes.

Dr. Conrad Helsley, chairman of the Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors, said the ad does not make sense to him.

“She is now standing in a different place than she was in the budgeting process,” Helsley said “When we tried to get raises in the budget for the teachers, three (supervisors) of them said no.”

Bailey, Marsha Shruntz and Richard Walker all tend to vote similarly, often resulting in tied votes of 3 to 3.

Helsley also addressed Bailey wanting to take responsibility and control over spending.

“It is illegal for the Board of Supervisors to oversee school spending. We appropriate the total funds. How they spend it is up to them. That is why we have an elected School Board,” Helsley said.

He said to his knowledge Bailey has not changed her position.

“But this ad would indicate she has,” Helsley said.

Karen Whetzel, chairman of the county School Board, agreed with Helsley, saying the ad made no sense.

“The Board of Supervisors is to hear the need of the schools from us. It is not their role to actually oversee school spending. That is micromanaging,” Whetzel said.

Whetzel supports raises for teachers, administrators, faculty and bus drivers. She would like to see restored funding for school supplies, which was cut and has not been restored. She does not anticipate Bailey will start changing her vote.

County Supervisor Dick Neese said he also did not understand the ad.

“Not to be short but that is not our responsibility. That is up to the School Board,” Neese said on seeing the ad for the first time.

Neese could not be sure if Bailey was supporting the bullet point list or controlling the items in the list.

“It’s confusing,” he said.

Neese is also unaware of Bailey changing her position.

County Supervisor Richard Walker said he believes he understands Bailey and where she is coming from.

There are different categories of funds the supervisors could appropriate money into by category with the hopes the School Board would shift funds from administration to instruction, he said.

“That is what Cindy is getting at. State code provides we can establish certain funds, we can direct funds into those accounts,” Walker said.

The county and its residents cannot afford to write a blank check to the School Board, he said.

“We are doing what we can,” he said.

Supervisor Marsha Shruntz did not return messages left at her home.

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