Floyd County’s beleaguered school board — under fire for its fast and loose budget practices — decided Monday to punish teachers and student for its mistakes — avoiding the real issues that have placed the system in financial distress.

The board will eliminated 21 full time positions and lay off five teacher assistants and one other employee because the board of supervisors had the gall to keep the system’s budget at the same level as the current fiscal year.

And the system will not fill two special education jobs, hire teachers for vacant positions in math, physical education art positions along with two elementary school jobs.  Also, the system will eliminate six positions it filled last year with federal stimulus money that was a one-time deal.

The action, taken at a five-hour meeting Monday that included a long, closed-door “executive session,” will be ratified at a second meeting this morning.

The decision can easily be viewed as a callous act designed to generate public anger towards the board of supervisors instead of focusing on the real problem: the school board’s mismanagement and lack of honesty with the public over the rapidly escalating cost of the administrative operation.

(This article is based on a story in The Roanoke Times and conversations with attendees at the meeting.)