Benton back on school board

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 8, 2008

FRANKLIN—David Benton of Wynnwood Drive has been named to serve as the at-large member for the Franklin City School Board.

He will take the seat vacated by Richard Thomas, who relocated after a promotion.

Benton previously served on the board for about nine years, completing his last term in 2007. He was chairman for the last several years of that term.

Vice president of the Parent-Teacher Association at J.P. King Jr. Middle School, where his son is a seventh- grader, he is also a member and founder of the Franklin City Educational Foundation Inc., which began in 2002.

He serves on the PTA Council, which is the umbrella organization for all three schools’ PTA organizations.

A parent member of the Safe and Drug Free Schools Health Advisory Committee for the school system, Benton also serves on the Rawls Museum Arts board of directors.

He is a member of the Hunterdale Ruritan Club, involved with Franklin Boy Scout Troop 17, and serves on several committees at Franklin Baptist Church.

Married to Cindy for 19 years, he has two children, Chad, 13, and Emmy, 3, a student at The Children’s Center.

The council voted 4-3 in favor of Benton after returning from closed session Tuesday evening. Casting the dissenting votes were Vice Mayor Raystine Johnson, Mary Hilliard and Rosa Lawrence.

Johnson and Mayor Jim Councill agreed that all three candidates interviewed very well.

Johnson said, &uot;I would like to have seen someone with a fresh face on the board,&uot; she said, &uot;I think the community would appreciate some fresh ideas.

&uot;I would have also liked to have seen someone else have the opportunity to serve.&uot;

She said she was impressed with Phyllis Crum as well, as she had experience in needed areas.

Crum is on the board of the Boys & Girls Club of Southeast Virginia Franklin Unit, a trainer with the Franklin Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s Life Skills/Job Skills program, and chairwoman of the school system’s Special Education Advisory Board.

The mayor said he jotted down some good ideas from all three candidates, which he hopes will still be implemented, no matter who was appointed. Sharon Watson was also nominated.

&uot;David [Benton] is very qualified,&uot; he said. &uot;He has tremendous experience and knowledge (of the school system).

&uot;He said that he ‘left the school board, but not the school system.’ He’s very dedicated to the schools.&uot;

Councill said it is not unusual for council members to try to recruit candidates to serve on the board when an opening arises. He had asked Benton about serving.

&uot;He expressed an interest when asked,&uot; said Councill, and since &uot;we had a majority decision, we wanted to go ahead and (appoint the person) because the school board is in the middle of its budget planning.&uot;

The new appointee would have been able to attend a school board work session regarding the budget Thursday evening.

&uot;I am honored that (council) would consider me for the appointment to the board,&uot; said Benton, who hadn’t yet received information about his appointment in writing.

&uot;I will certainly do what I can to help move the board forward.&uot;