Bill seeks continuity on School Board

Published 10:24 am Friday, February 11, 2011

Delegate Roslyn Tyler, center, standsd with Paul D. Camp Community College President Dr. Paul Wm. Conco, from left, and students Linda Muse-Ruvio, Zachary Gurganus, Alice Adoga, Brenda Anyanwu, Kimberly Holmes and Rob Carter.


RICHMOND—Members of the Franklin City School Board would serve staggered terms under a House-approved bill aimed at correcting the appointed body’s “out of whack” rotation cycle.

Introduced by Delegate William Barlow, D-Smithfield, the bill establishes a “2-2-3” annual rotation for school board members.

The Franklin City Council appoints the seven members of the School Board. The bill would ensure a staggered rotation so all seven members would not leave at the same time and force the council to fill numerous vacancies at once.

“Over the years, for one reason or another, instead of a 2-2-3 rotation for the people on the School Board, it was like 1-5 and just out of whack,” Barlow said. “It was a half-brain operation of the school board – and therefore half-brain public education in the school division in Franklin.”

Under the current rotation, massive turnover makes it difficult for the board to function because it may lack a balance between new ideas and institutional memory, Barlow said. His bill addresses the problem by ensuring that the board will have a mix of new faces and experienced veterans.

“It’s good to have that experience, that you get a balance of the new ideas and so forth coupled with those who have experience,” Barlow said. “That makes the school division operate better. And that, of course, benefits the students, helps the parents, helps the teachers, and the school staff.”

The city attorney for Franklin, Taylor Williams, told Barlow about the issue and asked him to introduce the proposal.

It was passed by the House unanimously and has been referred to the Senate Committee on Local Government. Barlow does not see any problems getting it approved by the Senate.

Under the bill, Franklin City Council initially would appoint School Board members in the following order:

• Beginning this July 1, the Ward 3 representative would be appointed to a three-year term ending June 30, 2014.

• Beginning July 1, 2012, the Ward 1 representative would be appointed to a two-year term ending June 30, 2014.

• Beginning July 1, 2012, the Ward 2 representative would be appointed to a one-year term ending June 30, 2013.

• Beginning July 1, 2012, the representatives for Wards 4 and 6 and the at-large member would be appointed to three-year terms ending June 30, 2015.

• Beginning July 1, 2013, the Ward 5 representative would be appointed to a three-year term ending June 30, 2016.

Thereafter, whenever the terms expire, members would be appointed for three years.

Under the proposed 2-2-3 rotation, the representatives for Wards 2 and 5 would be appointed together in 2016; Wards 1 and 3, 2017; and Wards 4 and 6 and the at-large member, 2018.

The bill would allow the City Council to make exceptions to the order when filling an unexpired term on the School Board. The council also would have authority to make an appointment for less than a three-year term if it’s necessary to reestablish the 2-2-3 rotation.