Debate funding on the money

Published 12:50 pm Thursday, October 27, 2016

Wednesday, we answered the question of how much money Longwood University and the town of Farmville spent on Oct. 4’s Vice Presidential Debate. To reiterate the numbers, the town spent about $170,000, while Longwood estimates its total expenditures ranged from $5 million to $7 million.

Sounds like a lot of money, and it is. But the good news is hardly any of it came from local sources or student tuition.

Only $37,600 of the money Farmville spent came from the town’s coffers, thanks to a Virginia General Assembly 2016-18 appropriation of $132,400.

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Longwood received no tax funding — in fact, it didn’t ask for any. The millions it spent (and is, technically, still spending) came from the university’s cash reserves. This meant “…no existing university budgets were affected, nor were student tuition dollars used,” according to Justin Pope, Longwood President W. Taylor Reveley IV’s chief of staff.

As Pope pointed out, $5-7 million is a small part of the university’s overall $125 million budget. He did point out, however, there are also $150 million in capital projects going on all over campus.

Even so, and especially as some of those projects were tied in with the debate, we consider it money well spent.

The Vice Presidential Debate turned out to be a wonderful event for Farmville and Longwood. The money used to make that event happen was very well spent, in our opinion. It is even sweeter that it did not include much in the way of local funds or hit students in their checkbooks, too.