Franklin City Council seeks more nominees for school board seat

Published 9:12 pm Thursday, February 1, 2024

The Franklin City Council voted 5-2 on the evening of Jan. 22 to advertise for an additional public hearing to allow for more nominees for the Ward 6 seat on the Franklin City School Board.

Dreama Regula

Earlier that same evening, the council had interviewed in closed session the lone nominee to come out of the first public hearing.

In the first public hearing, which was held Jan. 8, Ward 1 School Board Member and Board Chair Robert Holt nominated Dreama Regula, who he said had contacted him expressing an interest in serving on the board. They met and had an extended conversation about the matter.

“I believe she’s interested, and I believe she would be an asset to our board,” he said.

He stated that she is a graduate of Smithfield High School and has taken business courses at Camp Community College.

“She has a son who’s autistic, and she’s very familiar with all the special education rules and regulations, particularly IEPs and 504s and things of that sort,” he said.

He noted that Regula has two daughters who are college graduates.

“She’s currently the office coordinator of Helena Chemical in Courtland,” he said.

One of the agenda items for the City Council’s Jan. 22 regular meeting was “Consideration of Appointment” of Regula to the Ward 6 school board seat.

Franklin City Manager Amanda C. Jarratt opened the agenda item by reviewing the process that had led up to that step. 

Ward 6 School Board Member Jerry McCreary resigned effective Nov. 30 due to continued health issues. He had served on the board since July 1, 2020, when he was appointed to fulfill part of the unexpired term of the previous Ward 6 representative. He was then appointed by City Council to serve a full three-year term that will expire June 30, 2024.

With regard to garnering nominees to serve the remainder of the unexpired term, Jarratt told council members, “You all did conduct a public hearing, which is required. No one may be considered for the school board if they’re not nominated at a public hearing. Earlier this evening, an interview of the one individual that was nominated at the public hearing was conducted.”

Jarratt then explained that the council had three options:

  • Choose to appoint the individual who was nominated and interviewed;
  • Choose to think about it and have this item placed on an upcoming meeting agenda; or
  • Instruct the staff to advertise for an additional public hearing.

Mark R. Kitchen

Ward 1 Councilman Mark R. Kitchen made a motion to appoint Regula to the unexpired term in the Ward 6 seat.

Ward 4 Councilman Dr. Linwood Johnson seconded the motion.

However, the motion failed due to lack of support from a majority of the council. 

Kitchen, Johnson and Mayor Robert “Bobby” Cutchins voted in favor of the motion, Ward 6 Councilwoman Jessica G. Banks voted against it, and Ward 5 Councilwoman and Vice Mayor Wynndolyn H. Copeland, Ward 2 Councilman Ray Smith and Ward 3 Councilman Gregory McLemore abstained.

Jessica G. Banks

Banks then made a motion instructing city staff to advertise for an additional public hearing.

This motion passed 5-2, with Kitchen and Johnson voting in opposition.

In a Jan. 23 interview, Kitchen explained why he made the motion to appoint Regula.

“I felt we had a very qualified candidate in Ms. Regula,” he said. “It’s difficult to find people who want to serve. I felt we should move forward, since we don’t have another council meeting for three weeks. However, I respect my colleagues’ opinion, and we’ll work together to make good things happen.”

The Tidewater News reached out to Banks for comment on her votes and motion, but no response had been received by press time.

The additional public hearing will be held during the Franklin City Council meeting on Monday, Feb. 12, in the Council Chambers at 207 W. Second Ave. The meeting is set to begin at 7 p.m.