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 .