Regarding the discussions about the Rose Hall District School Board Appointment:
I am not pleased that discussions continue to take place behind closed doors. Ms. Hughes, Ms. Weems and I tried to get the discussions to take place in the open, but our colleagues prevented that from happening yesterday.
There is some funny stuff going on behind the scenes.
Joel McDonald is the prior board member who had to vacate the seat because he moved out of district and didn't notify anyone. He was posting on FB Tuesday night that Mr Mullins wouldn't be accepting the position and that an emergency meeting of the school board would be called on Wedn.
Mr Mullins sent his notification to the Board at 7:28am Wedn morning.
As a Board member I knew NOTHING about this until Wednesday. I have been told that Kelly Walker was involved in discussions with Mr. Mullins. Why is the VBEA (aka teacher's union) President involved in this??? It is interesting that Mr. Mcdonald was at an event at the VBEA office on Tuesday night.
Was there a secret behind the scenes effort with the VBEA to get Mr. Mullins appointed and ask him not to run in the special election in November?
Mr. McDonald is planning to run in the special election in November. Is there an effort to insure that he is the favored candidate??
Last night at the School Board meeting I asked for the candidate applications for the Rose Hall District School Board appointment be posted on the VB Schools website. I was told that due to ADA compliance requirements for VBCPS they aren't able to post them. So, I am posting them here for the public to review. Our SB Attorney has stated they can be made public. After the events of the last few days I think it is important to be as transparent as possible and to give the public every opportunity to be informed of this process.
To be qualified to be appointed to the position, a person must be a qualified voter in the district they will be representing and also reside in the district in which they are representing.
Per the voter registrar, Ms. Owens who is one of the applicants, did not meet the qualification of being a qualified voter in the Rose Hall District when she submitted her application. After she was notified of this, she changed her voting district to be in compliance with the requirement. For this reason, I am very hesitant to consider her for the position. I would like to know how the public feels about this topic.
Please provide feedback to the board if you have any questions, comments or concerns. email@example.com. We will be voting on the appointment on May 28th.
While I believe that both candidates have served students and families in our community, it is also important to me to remember why we are in the position now of having to appoint a new member.
Joel McDonald was forced to vacate his seat after he moved out of the district and didn't notify anyone of that fact. He lived out of the district for approximately 18 months.
For the last couple of years I have been sharing feedback with the Superintendent and School Board that I have received from teachers and parents regarding student discipline problems. I have also witnessed some of these issues first hand. My concerns have been dismissed.
Teacher Surveys conducted by VDOE seem to reveal these discipline concerns. I have now received all of the surveys. They are found here. I have summarized the discipline question results and have also included the full surveys.
My summary review:
One statement on the survey: "THIS SCHOOL'S RULES FOR STUDENT BEHAVIOR ARE EFFECTIVE"
Survey Summary regarding this statement for Elementary Schools:
20 of the 49 schools surveyed scored 69% and below for teacher agreement with the above statement. One School scored an 8 and one scored a 12.
Survey Summary for this statement for Middle Schools:
8 of 14 schools scored 69% and below for teacher agreement with the above statement
Survey Summary for this statement for High Schools:
9 of 11 schools scored 69% and below for teacher agreement with the above statement
I believe that new discipline practices in our division called PBIS are contributing to these discipline problems, based on feedback from teachers, parents and these surveys. I know that 20 of our schools have implemented PBIS. I don't know exactly which schools but I do know that Hermitage, Brookwood, Strawbridge, Thalia and Woodstock ES are using this discipline system. They have some of the worst scores regarding discipline on these surveys.
I have also seen discipline goals in some schools to "reduce referrals and suspensions" rather than to improve student behavior.
On January 28, 2019 the VEA (Virginia Education Association--subsidiary of the NEA--national teacher's union) organized a "Lobby Day". The purpose was to advocate for the VEA's agenda in Richmond. Recently I was provided e-mails that show that the Superintendent authorized VBCPS teachers/principals to be paid to participate in political lobbying in Richmond for the VBEA (Va Beach Education Association--sub-group of the NEA). This is a violation of School Board Policy 4-32 and Regulation 4-29.1. Tax dollars were used to pay teachers/principals to lobby for the VEA agenda and to my knowledge this money was never reimbursed. I also do not know if expenses were paid. Even if I agreed with the entire VEA agenda, the taxpayers should not foot the bill for political lobbying on behalf of ANY organization.
The School Board chair Anderson indicates that this has been an "ongoing joint initiative" and "VBEA encourages teachers to travel to Richmond and advocate for the legislative agenda" . The Vice-Chair Melnyk's response was "I think that it is incredibly important that our employees reach out to legislators, and showing up in Richmond is far better than an email." (full e-mails attached below). 3 School Board members are current members of the NEA/VBEA. The Chair and Vice Chair miss the point that using taxpayer dollars for political lobbying is against School Board policies and regulations.
I was also provided with an e-mail that shows the VBEA using school resources (e-mail to all staff) to promote their meetings without the approval of the principal. The VBEA has become very political in my opinion (see attached pics from their FB page). The VBEA PAC received approximately $100,000 in contributions in the last election, from people like developer Bruce Thompson. They paid for a TV attack ad against Councilman John Moss.
Does this relationship between the School Board, Superintendent and the VBEA create a perceived favoritism for political special interests? Should taxpayer dollars fund political lobbying?
To contact the full school board: firstname.lastname@example.org .