Amelia parents outraged over school district’s ‘reckless spending’

AMELIA COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A day after learning their school district is $1 million in the hole, parents in Amelia County were angry over what some are calling reckless spending within the district.

8News reported earlier this week about the budget shortfall and drastic measures that were being implemented to save money. Now, a list of some questionable spending has surfaced.

8News discovered the district’s invoices for July and August of this year. In two months, school administration spent more than $75,000. That included $27,000 for just one month of legal fees paid out in July and August.

But it’s the smaller amounts — including more than $4,300 on new office furniture from LaDiff for Superintendent Jack McKinley’s office, $700 on a fajita bar for a bus shop meeting and $1,200 to pay a hypnotist to entertain people at convocation — that are piquing parents’ interest.

“It’s reckless spending,” said Jessica Morgan, president of the PTA at Amelia County Elementary School. “There’s no other way to put it.”

There’s also a $342 trip to Dave & Buster’s, although the invoice doesn’t say who went there and why.

Earlier this week, Morgan struggled to find paper in the building and make copies for a classroom.

“It really upsets me from a volunteer point of view, a parent point of view; a taxpayer point of view,” Morgan said.

Amelia County schools are struggling under the burden of a million dollar shortfall. The district has a hiring freeze in place along with a budget freeze for anything but essentials, which includes paper. The district said when the schools run out, there are no plans to order more.

“My pre-k student, he’s learning to write his name and cut and paste,” Morgan added. “How are they going to teach my child that? It’s just not the same with whiteboards as it is with pencil and paper.”

Parents are expected to demand answers from the district at the next school board meeting scheduled for January 8.

Saturday afternoon, the school board posted the following statement in reference to their finances to social media.

Below is a look at the school district’s invoices from July and August:

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