New Franklin school board holds 1st meeting

Published 4:39 pm Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The newly-appointed members of the Franklin City Public Schools school board held their first meeting Monday evening in the council chamber of city hall. The meeting began at 6 p.m. in closed session and then went into open session, during which time the board elected a new chair and vice chair.

Bob Holt, the board’s ward six representative, was elected chairman, and Dr. Andrea Hall-Leonard, who represents ward three, was elected vice-chair. Additional business discussed during the board’s open session included reviewing bills for payment and scheduling a work session for Jan. 5, at which time the board will begin the process of hiring a new superintendent.

According to Holt, the work session will be open to the public and will be held in the school board offices in city hall. The session will include a discussion of the Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA) recommended process for hiring a superintendent, and a report from state auditors on the five audit concerns Dr. Steve Staples, the Virginia Department of Education’s superintendent of public instruction, identified in communiques to the previous board.

Holt expects the process for selecting a new superintendent will take three to four months.

“Hiring a superintendent is a critical function of the board, we just have to do a really good job,” Holt said.

He added that the board will travel to Richmond on Jan. 24 for a VSBA training session, which is done for all school boards in Virginia, and is designed to orient new board members, superintendents, chairmen and vice-chairs. Franklin City Public Schools’ interim superintendent, Kelvin Edwards, will also attend the training session.

The board also formalized the personnel switch Edwards recently made, appointing Travis Felts as the Franklin High School principal and moving former-principal Dr. Ronnie Watson back to the central office to assume Felts’ duties. They also received a report from Franklin High School listing the school’s attendance rate for November at 99 percent, and 98.4 percent for October.

“I would suspect that’s at the top of the state, so we’re proud of that,” Holt said. “ We are really into attendance, we think attendance is really important.”

Franklin City Public Schools are closed this week for Christmas and will reopen Jan. 3.