Sebrell man questions changing school board selection process

Published 9:53 am Monday, January 20, 2014

To the Editor:

I think it is time to ask why there is not a public outcry to change the School Board Selection process.

Demand for change of any process is usually driven by failure of said process. Failure is certainly not at issue.

Southampton School System has consistently been one of Western Tidewaters most successful school systems thanks to the leadership of Dr. Wainwright, Dr. Turner, and now Dr. Parrish, and the school boards.

It is my honor to personally know the three members of the Southampton School Board Selection committee.

One: A lifetime farmer, highly respected in the agriculture community, father, grandfather.

Two: A businessman, highly respected in the agriculture and business community, father, grandfather.

Three: Former high school football coach, former Clerk of Court, father, grandfather.

All three of these men have strongly supported our public schools. I say thank you to these men.

Now what are the alternatives to the Southampton School Board Selection committee?

A. Put them on the ballot, same as Southampton Board of Supervisors. I would not have a problem with this except it would be difficult for voters to ascertain a school board candidates’ qualifications. Now candidates must convince the School Board Selection committee that they are qualified and will act in the best interests of our children.

B. Let the elected Southampton Board of Supervisors appoint the Southampton School Board.

To me this is not in the best interest of our schoolchildren. The last two Southampton County budgets the Southampton Board of Supervisors has shown their disdain for funding public education.

2012: Slashed school budget, forcing layoffs of teachers, teacher’s aides and other staff.

2013: Denied Southampton School Board requests for matching funds to get state funds for teachers raises and denied funds for needed teachers.

I shudder at the thought of the Southampton Board of Supervisors being able to pack the Southampton School Board with people that have the same disdain for funding public education as the Southampton Board of Supervisors.

I think the saying goes: Watch what you ask for, you may get it!

The Franklin City Council appoints the Franklin City School Board. What a disaster.

Another old saying: Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke.

I hope that if Dr. Parrish feels it is necessary, she will again go to Richmond to fight for the best interests of our children. If she needs help I hope she will give me a call. I would be glad to go.

John Burchett