Southampton County School Board veteran faces challenger Rountree

Published 8:46 am Friday, June 8, 2012


COURTLAND—Veteran Southampton County School Board member Becky Blackburn faces a challenger for the Drewryville District seat.

Donna Rountree, who works for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has applied for the four-year term, which pays $5,000 a year.

Jim Pope is unopposed for the Capron District seat. If appointed, Pope will replace Russell Schools, who is retiring after 41 years on the board.

Appointments will be made 11 a.m. Tuesday, June 12, at the Central Office.

Southampton is among 24 of Virginia’s 134 school districts where voters do not choose school board members. Court-appointed School Board Selection Commission members Mark Hodges, Wayne Cosby and Emerson Kitchen, all county residents, will make the appointments for terms that begin July 1.

Blackburn has served on the board for 23 years and hopes to serve one more term. She said she enjoys helping children succeed. A 62-year-old homemaker, Blackburn began serving on the school board when her children were in school.

Rountree was born and raised in Southampton County. The 49-year-old has a student at Southampton Middle School and a senior at Southampton High School.

Rountree has wanted to run for several years, and now that one of her children is graduating, she’s ready.

Rountree believes the biggest issue facing the schools is the budget and whether or not the district is being managed efficiently.

Pope, 41, is running to help the district’s children be successful and believes the most important issue facing schools is reduced funding. Employed by Meherrin Agricultural & Chemical Co., Pope has a second-grader at Capron Elementary School and a seventh-grader at the middle school.