SoCo schools seats up for grabs

Published 8:37 am Wednesday, May 13, 2009

COURTLAND—The School Board Selection Commission of Southampton County will meet on Tuesday, May 26, to hear from citizens interested in serving on the county school board.

The three-member commission will appoint two people to the serve on the school board for the next four years. Up for appointment are the Newsoms District seat and one of the board’s two at-large positions.

Denise Bunn currently represents the Newsoms District, and Deborah Goodwyn occupies the at-large seat up for reappointment.

Bunn, who lives in Newsoms and works for Mid-Atlantic Health Solutions in Franklin, said Friday that she would seek reappointment to a second four-year term. She has one child at Meherrin Elementary School and another at Southampton Middle School.

Goodwyn, who chairs the Languages and Literature Department at Virginia State University, could not be reached for comment.

Other citizens who are interested in serving on the school board should attend the public hearing, which is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the school board office in Courtland. The commission will make its appointments at a follow-up meeting, scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday, June 2, at the school board office.

The new terms will begin July 1 and end on June 30, 2013.

Southampton is one of nine counties in Virginia, out of 95 total, that appoints its school board members rather than elects them.

According to the state Board of Elections, the other eight counties are Accomack, Alleghany, Amherst, Greensville, Hanover, Northampton, Prince Edward and Richmond.

Most Virginia counties changed from appointed to elected school boards after the General Assembly enacted legislation in April 1992 permitting them to do so.

Under the appointment system, the local Circuit Court appoints three members to four-year terms on the selection commission. According to state law, commission members must be qualified voters who live in the county. They cannot be county or state officers or employed by the school board they will appoint.

Commission members receive $25 a day from the school board for their service.

In Southampton, Robert Cumbey chairs the group. Emerson B. Kitchen Sr. and Mark H. Hodges are the other members.