The City of Norfolk has put together its legislative package for the upcoming General Assembly session. One of the three legislative requests is that school board terms be increased from two years to three. Norfolk GAINS, an organization dedicated to improving the schools, would like to see the terms increased to four years.
In an email, Norfolk GAINS writes:
87% of School Boards in the Commonwealth have 4 year terms. This overwhelming majority of districts speak to a recognition of best practices regarding term length for school boards in Virginia. We are very concerned that a three year term would not allow for bi-annual appointments, which is an important part of our considered proposal. Decision making has been slowed and oversight has not been as effective as it could be due to annual turnover on the Board.
The group is urging the citizens to have their voices heard on the matter via the city’s public comment form. Public comments are also being accepted via email and are due by 5pm this Friday, November 22. Council is scheduled to approve the package at its November 26 meeting.
(I find it ironic that the city, in its proposal (pdf), cites the 23 appointed school boards as its basis for requesting three years. Norfolk is in the minority of Virginia’s localities in having an appointed school board. Sure would be nice if the legislative request included a referendum on elected school boards, like most of Virginia enjoys. Guess that isn’t happening any time soon 😦 )