Council sets date for public meeting on schools

Published 10:50 am Monday, October 14, 2013

FRANKLIN–Franklin City Council has finalized the date for the public meeting about the school district. The forum will be at council chambers in the Franklin City Hall on Monday, Oct. 21 at 7:30 p.m.

In closed session at 6:30 p.m., the council will discuss with outside legal counsel exactly what the city can and cannot do in regard to the school. At the open session, that adviser will inform the public exactly what can and cannot be done. Following that, the city council will open the meeting.

In a previous interview, Mayor Raystine Johnson-Ashburn said that if the public has any questions for the school board, they could use that time to ask. Also, council would get an answer at a joint meeting, which has been rescheduled to Wednesday, Oct. 30, due to conflicts. There will be public notice of located advertised well in advance.

Superintendent Dr. Michelle Belle and school board chairperson Edna King will be in Richmond on Wednesday, Oct. 23 and Thursday, Oct. 24. The two women will be on the Virginia Board of Education’s agenda. VBOE will decide whether to put Franklin City Public Schools under a division-level review. In that, the state board would examine the practices of the school board and central office of the district. VBOE has already completed a school-level review, which looked at the practices of the schools.

The meeting now set for Oct. 30 will first involve getting an update on school board budgetary items and then discussing the school-level review.

The city appoints the school board and appropriates the local funds to the school board.

Taylor Williams, the city and school board attorney, said he would have to withdraw from these meetings as it creates a conflict of interest.

“I could not give good legal counsel to the city involving matters to the school board, since the school board is my client,” he said. “Likewise, I could not give good legal advice to the school board about my client, the city.”