My colleague Carolyn Weems and I have called upon the School Board to hold a formal public hearing on the topic of the proposed portable trailer village for Thoroughgood students on the Hermitage property. Over 200 parents came to a community meeting and many have told me they left with more questions than when they arrived. Questions regarding security, traffic, portable bathrooms, the option of the Jericho Rd school, how will cafeteria handle 1400 students, no open space for PE, library, after school activities, and more.
It was brought to our attention by a parent that there is a Virginia Code (22.1-79 (8)) that states a formal public hearing must be held for "adopting any pupil assignment plan affecting the assignment of 15% or more of the pupils in average daily membership in the affected school." This has not been done.
I hope that the rest of our colleagues on the Board will join us in providing the public with the input they deserve. Parents must be given more input in our public school processes.
For decades the VBEA (Va Beach Education Assoc) has had access in our schools such as a bulletin board in every school, ability to put mail in teacher mailboxes, make announcements on the school PA system, a mailbox in the School Administration building, participation on School Board committees and more.
The VBEA is a subsidiary of the NEA (the national teacher's union). Since Virginia is a Right to Work state and does not allow unions to mandate employee participation, the VBEA is not technically called a union but it has the same agenda as the NEA and VEA.
I do not oppose allowing the VBEA access to our schools (I have friends who are members), as long as the political part of their organization and agenda is not a part of their efforts in our schools.
Most of my colleagues on the VB School Board just proposed a policy change that severely limits the access of certain education associations. The definition they just created will essentially eliminate any existing Education Associations except the VBEA.
It should be noted that 3 School Board members are current VBEA members.
The new policy definition states that the only associations that shall have the above mentioned access to our schools will be those organizations created BY ONLY employees or retirees of VB Schools. (vote will take place Jan 23)
So, any Education Association that is created by parents or students along with teachers, will not have the same access as the VBEA.
It is interesting that this policy change came just a couple of months after the new SPARK Education Association (www.vbspark.org) became public. It's also interesting that the School Board recently blocked the nomination of a highly qualified SPARK Board member to a School Board Advisory Committee.
It is very important for the School Board to be open to all community members and not favor one group over another. (2 of my colleagues on the board spoke against this policy change, all others appear to be in favor of it)