As members of the Floyd County High School Lady Buffaloes and their fans celebrated a solid semi-final win over Clarke County in Richmond Tuesday afternoon, assistant coach and athletic director Travis Cantrell was not happy with the county’s board of supervisors and government leadership — a group he says does not exhibit support for the schools or the athletic system that brings acclaim to the region.
Speaking to reporters at the post-game press conference at the Siegel Center after the Lady Buffs won 65-36 to face a rematch Wednesday against Wise Central in the 2A state basketball finals, Cantrell said the board of supervisors refused to reschedule meetings in Floyd Tuesday to allow country school superintendent Kevin Harris and others from the school board and at the school to attend the semi-final match.
“Their actions show a lack of support for our schools and our programs,” Cantrell said. He said it “is sad” that the county’s leadership fails to support the school system or its programs.
The county board of supervisors met Tuesday morning for its regular scheduled meeting and the again in the afternoon with a joint session with the school board on budget needs. Budget debates often rage between the school board and the supervisors, especially with budget requests that will require a tax increase to fund such requests.
Floyd County has one of the lowest tax rates in The Old Dominion. The Republican-controlled board of supervisors has delayed tax increases that have resulted in cuts and delays in hoped for programs for the school system. The schools lost 25 teachers last year to better paying jobs and continued cuts are expected to result in more losses.
When the supervisors last year announced it would not increase taxes, it did so with what some felt was an implied consent for a potential increase this year but there is no increase on the table as the present time and the school board says it needs at least $1.3 million in new funding on a budget that is already two-thirds of county spending.
A lack of available school bus drivers, along with other budget concerns combined with the school system’s aging fleet of buses, cancelled trips this year to bring students and fans from Floyd to Richmond for the semi-final game. That, along with scheduling of the semi-final and final matches early in the work week instead of towards the weekend, hampered plans for some who wanted to attend the game.
Dr. Harris and other members of the school board along with others are expected to be in Richmond Wednesday for the state final match that begins at 3:45 p.m. at the Siegel Center. Among supervisors, only Locust Grover representative Lauren Yoder is expected to attend the final in Richmond Wednesday. Yoder attends many of the high school’s sporting events. Few other supervisors ever attend games.
The contest will be a rematch between Floyd and Wise Central, who beat the Lady Buffaloes in the region final last week at Emory & Henry.
Floyd beat Wise Central two years ago for the state championship. Wise won the state last year.
Carley Lytton, held to just two points in the game with Central Wise last week, says she is looking forward to a rematch.