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More Stability for Franklin School Board

February 10, 2011

By Alice Kemp
Capital News Service

RICHMOND — Members of the Franklin City School Board would serve staggered terms under a House-approved bill aimed at correcting the appointed body’s “out of whack” rotation cycle.

Introduced by Delegate William Barlow, D-Smithfield, House Bill 2130 establishes a “2-2-3” annual rotation for school board members.

The Franklin City Council appoints the seven members of the School Board. The bill would ensure a staggered rotation so all seven members would not leave at the same time and force the council to fill vacancies the same year.

“Over the years, for one reason or another, instead of a 2-2-3 rotation for the people on the School Board, it was like 1-5 and just out of whack,” Barlow said. “It was a half-brain operation of the school board – and therefore half-brain public education in the school division in Franklin.”

The current rotation makes it difficult for the board to function because it may lack a balance between new ideas and institutional memory, Barlow said. His bill addresses the problem by ensuring that the board will have a mix of new faces and experienced veterans.

“It’s good to have that experience, that you get a balance of the new ideas and so forth coupled with those who have experiences,” Barlow said. “That makes the school division operate better. And that, of course, benefits the students, helps the parents, helps the teachers, and the school staff.”

The city attorney for Franklin, Taylor Williams, told Barlow about the issue and asked him to introduce the proposal.

It was passed by the House unanimously and has been referred to the Senate Committee on Local Government. Barlow does not see any problems getting it approved by the Senate.

Under HB 2130, the Franklin City Council initially would appoint School Board members in the following order:

Beginning this July 1, the Ward 3 representative would be appointed to a three-year term ending June 30, 2014.

Beginning July 1, 2012, the Ward 1 representative would be appointed to a two-year term ending June 30, 2014.

Beginning July 1, 2012, the Ward 2 representative would be appointed to a one-year term ending June 30, 2013.

Beginning July 1, 2012, the representatives for Wards 4 and 6 and the at-large member would be appointed to three-year terms ending June 30, 2015.

Beginning July 1, 2013, Ward 5 would be appointed to a three-year term ending June 30, 2016.

Thereafter, whenever the terms expire, members would be appointed for three years.

Under the proposed 2-2-3 rotation, the representatives for Wards 1 and 3 would be appointed together one year; Wards 2 and 5 would appointed together the next year; and Wards 4 and 6 and the at-large member would be appointed together the following year.

The bill would allow the City Council to make exceptions to the order when filling an unexpired term on the School Board. The council also would have authority to make an appointment for less than a three-year term if it’s necessary to reestablish the 2-2-3 rotation.


On the Web

To track or comment on House Bill 2130, visit Richmond Sunlight:

www.richmondsunlight.com/bill/2011/hb2130