By Taylor Boyd
Ray Reynolds is seeking the Collinsville District seat on the Henry County School Board in the November election.
The deadline to complete and turn in the required paperwork to run is June 8.
Reynolds said he decided to run because he has concerns about the county’s use of certain school funds.
“When I saw I was paying extra money for taxes to support the schools, and then according to what the money was earmarked for, new construction and new projects for the schools, Mr. Hall decided he was going to use the money anyway he wanted and he was going to pay down the debt on the Meadow View School,” he said.
Henry County Administrator Tim Hall proposed using part of the revenues generated by a new tax to pay down the debt on Meadow View Elementary School.
The Henry County Board of Supervisors has approved the proposed budget.
“The money hasn’t even been taken in yet and he’s already spent it,” Reynolds said.
As a taxpayer and a supporter of the schools, Reynolds said he sees it as his duty to get involved, learn about what is happening and see if he can ensure the schools are supported the way they should be.
Reynolds said he is also running because of his love for the kids in the community and his desire to see the kids succeed.
Additionally, and from an outside perspective, Reynolds said it appears that some of the supervisors have had a problem with working with the school board.
“That needs to be fixed,” Reynolds said and added that he also wants to protect the school budget and make sure those funds aren’t disbursed in other areas.
One of Reynolds’ main issues is redrawing the school lines, which has not been changed since the 2004 consolidation.
“A lot of these kids that live 4- or 5-miles past Meadow View (Elementary School) are bused all the way to Stanleytown (Elementary School) because the lines have not been redrawn since 2004 since consolidation on the school system,” he said.
“So, you actually have kids that should be going to Meadow View, a few miles away, that are actually still being bused to Stanleytown Elementary. That’s wear and tear on the buses, money taken out of the budget for fuel, that’s time taken out of the kid’s life, and that’s wrong,” he said.
Regarding the City of Martinsville’s reversion, Reynolds said he’s done some research and has found out that Martinsville High School has several classes with only 10 kids present, while Bassett High School has some classes with up to 37 students in them.
“I’m asking several questions to people in the county, such as ‘Are we going to justify keeping Martinsville School open with 10 kids in the classroom?’ When we did the consolidation, the (attendance) figures for the other schools were a lot larger than what we got right now.’”
He also wants to make sure students have all the tools needed to be taught and to learn in school.
“I want to make sure they got a computer learning center up to date and make sure that each kid has an iPad or computer. I also want to do all I can to work Morgan Griffith and other people to make sure that we got highspeed internet in every community that supports Henry County,” he said.
Many students were unable participate in the virtual instruction option due to connectivity issues, he said.
“This was not fair to our children. It was not fair to the parents in the community, it’s not fair to the children that want to learn,” Reynolds said.
He previously suggested security cameras be placed in all classrooms to protect the students.
“I was told it might be a violation of their privacy, but yet we have cameras on all the buses and in all the hallways in the school. You have cameras at the front of the school, that they even print out and put on a shirt with your name.”
He said putting cameras in the classroom would also help prevent students from skipping school and ensure that they attend classes.
Reynolds said another issue that motivated him to run is the large class sizes.
During his time as a student in the 1970s, Reynolds said his classes would have anywhere between 20-25 students, which made it hard to learn.
Reynolds graduated from Bassett High School in 1979. He has owned his own construction business for 35 years and has been a photographer for 22 years. Reynolds can often be found photographing athletic events in Henry County and the City of Martinsville.