A First For Me

Thanks for reading Fluco Blog!  I’m Perrie Johnson, Fork Union’s representative to the Fluvanna County School Board.  My goal with Fluco Blog is to let people know what’s going on at School Board meetings beyond the reports available online.  Be forewarned, with reference to discussions, most of the comments I remember turn out to be mine!  Here‘s the latest….

There were more people than usual at the December School Board meeting. Some came with public comments about serious concerns for 8th graders at the high school, and some (I assume, though only one person addressed it publicly) came with an interest in the superintendent’s recent approval of a school bus going to the Democratic caucus held Dec. 3 in Farmville.

Before any public comments, the meeting began with an almost immediate vote to go into closed session, an action taken when the Board needs to discuss employee or student matters, real property, or consult with legal counsel. Board members left the room for some time. When we came back, we had to individually certify that only public business lawfully exempted from open meeting requirements was discussed in the privacy of closed session. I voted no, along with one other Board member.  This was very awkward, and a first for me (not the awkwardness, for sure, but the inability to certify).

On the heels of that usually routine vote, another simple item became more complicated. There was no provision on the agenda for addressing the superintendent’s approval of the bus going to the Democratic caucus. I moved to add a discussion of the school board policies cited in that action.

The gist of that discussion, according to NBC Channel 29, was that ‘the board resolved to be mindful of the way the policy is written’ (Policy GBG …The Fluvanna County School Board also recognizes that school time and school property should not be used for partisan political purposes) ‘and when in doubt to consult its team of legal counsel for advice.’

Also during the meeting, Ms. Brenda Gilliam became the superintendent’s designee, replacing Mr. Winkler who’ll be interim superintendent.  She’ll have authority to act in his place if he should be unreachable for any reason.  The new assistant superintendent, Frank Leech, will be working part-time , and not consistently available to fill in.

Toward the end of the evening, I think the Board achieved a breakthrough in the debate over protocols for Board members visiting schools.  Ms. Carr and I worked together on a revision that does not require board members to reschedule their visit if administrators aren’t available to conduct a walk-through, but does call for 24 hours’ notice and a stated purpose for each visit.  I’m in favor of as few restrictions as possible but I’m hoping for approval of this compromise in January.

Finally, the Board will meet on January 19 to begin the formal search for a new superintendent.  Two Board members indicated during the meeting that they were well satisfied already with a potential candidate present in the room that night.  They were not more specific.

Whoops… P.S. I got in a last word about Fairfax County’s successful initiative to get community input into their budget through meetings, social media, and an online survey.  Our Board was open to the idea of more community involvement and asked for details at the next meeting.

 

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This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me.  The views expressed in this blog are purely my own and do not represent the Fluvanna County School Board, the school superintendent, or anyone else. Comments added by others are not necessarily my opinions and I am not responsible for their content.

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4 thoughts on “A First For Me

  1. #1 Priority of school board this year needs to be giving teachers substantial take home pay increases and covering full costs of VRS and any insurance increases

    • I really appreciate your input. The administration sent a short survey to staff asking about budget priorities and I expect the results to be shared with the school board this Friday at a morning seminar. I’ll post about last week’s regular meeting, this Thursday’s superintendent search meeting, and Friday’s seminar early next week.

  2. Perrie it has been a long year and you have done a great job keeping your bloggers informed on school issues.

    I’m very glad you did not pigeon hole the issue about unannounced school board visits.

    #1 priority needs to be a well balanced education for ALL students not just those are considered the selected few.

    Two Board members indicated during the meeting that they were well satisfied already with a potential candidate present in the room that night. Wow! I hope your HR department is ready for a potential lawsuit after superintendent interviews. I hope you can give fair interviews knowing this was said.

    • Thank you very much for the encouragement!
      The compromise on school board visits passed on Wed. (Board members are to give 24 hours notice and communicate a stated purpose, but will not be turned back if administrators aren’t available to accompany us around the building.)
      The Board did hire the Virginia School Boards Association to assist with a national superintendent search. Our first working meeting about this will be with the VSBA on Thursday (Jan 19) at 8:30 am in the school board office auditorium. It’s expected to last only about one hour. I’ll blog about it (and last week’s regular meeting and Friday’s budget seminar) for anyone who can’t make it.

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