Council to open school board nominations

Published 12:05 pm Saturday, April 25, 2015

Current terms for Ward 4, Ward 6 and the at-large position are up for the Franklin City Public School Board come July 1. City Council will open a public hearing on Monday at its 7 p.m. meeting in Council Chambers.

City Manager Randy Martin said the school board is a very important job — one where the city would like to have the best of the best serving. But by code they can only accept people who are nominated during the public hearing.

School Board Vice Chair Will Councill said he had not heard if his fellow board members, Sherita Ricks-Parker, Ward 4, Dawna Walton, Ward 6, and Edna King, at-large board chair, are interested in being nominated again.

“I hope that they do all intend to stay,” Councill said. “They have done a good job.”

City and School Board Attorney Taylor Williams said all are eligible to remain, but to serve again they too would have to be nominated or even nominate themselves. School board members serve three-year terms. Each nominee must be a qualified voter and not a member of City Council. If seeking the at-large position, a candidate must simply live in the city. If seeking one of the Ward seats, a nominee must live in that section. City officers, deputy city officers or school board employees are not eligible.

Martin added that if anyone is interested in seeking a term, they should go by the school board office or talk to a city representative about how often the school board meets and what they do.

Frank Rabil, who represents Ward 6 for council, said the city wanted to make sure that the school board was well-represented.

“We want to make sure we have good qualified people who are invested in a better school system,” he said. “I would love to have a really good pool of potential candidates.

“I think everyone on council would. I think the city deserves it.”

Ward 2 Councilman Benny Burgess said that after nominees have been presented, and if there were candidates for all of the seats to be filled, they would close the public hearing. From there, they would set up interviews — even those seeking reappointment — and make a decision at a later council meeting.

Martin and Burgess said they were not aware if the current members of the school board would seek the nomination. Rabil said that to his understanding some are still feeling it out, and that he would reserve any other comments until after the nominations are made.

If the current representatives did not seek the nomination, and there was no one present to take their place, the city could move that the public hearing be carried to a future date.

But Martin said they could not wait too long, as there is a lot going on right now during this very busy budget season. School board members should be chosen before July 1, when the term would begin.

In an extreme situation where a decision was not made before July 1, the current board member filling the seat would be asked to fill the term until another could be selected.

The Tidewater News attempted to contact the school board members in question, but it was not within a reasonable time period to expect a call to be returned.