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WHERE Do I Sign Up? Hanover Residents and Citizens Seek a Referendum on Elected School Boards!

The Richmond Times-Dispatch had a wonderful article – it caused a victory lap at my home!

Hanover grading-scale change leads to push for elected school board

And the news gets better:

A group called Hanover Citizens for an Elected School Board hopes to put a referendum on the ballot in November asking residents if they want to have elected school board members. Under Hanover’s current system, school board members are appointed by the Board of Supervisors.

Julie Stubblefield, the moderator for Hanover Citizens for an Elected School Board, said an elected school board would bring more accountability and collaboration to the body. Stubblefield said she doesn’t know how or why the current board members are qualified and that having elections would make that information more available.

“I don’t know why they were selected,” Stubblefield said. “As a parent, that bothers me.”

Rah for you, Julie!  I have already liked your FB page and I’ll help collect signatures.  And we’ll need every libertarian in the Richmond area (you have to be a Hanover voter to SIGN the petition but any Virginian can circulate signatures) to come to beautiful Hanover County and help when the petitions come out (there is a legal pleading presented to a Circuit Court judge to approve the ballot question and when that is accomplished, the petitions can be signed); we need 10,000 signatures – yes that’s right 10,000 signatures – as many as are needed to get Cliff Hyra on the ballot in the entire Commonwealth (although you need signatures from each congressional district) just to get the elected school boards issue on the ballot for all county voters to vote in November.

Why vote for an elected school board?  Stubblefield says it well:

  • accountability
  • collaboration
  • more availability to reach the school board member

Let me add one more:  It opens up to a greater extent Hanover politics.  Seven more elected officials will provide openings for political involvement and public service and will have more openness in local politics.

But let me remind all my Hanover readers:  The elected officials and educational leaders that are able to speak out will oppose this.  Board of Supervisors Chair Angela Kelly-Wiecek said the elitist position well when she was quoted in the Times-Dispatch:

“I haven’t seen an issue that is specifically outlined that suggests a need to change,” Kelly-Wiecek said. “I really think that keeping the politics of elected offices out of school decisions is a very good thing.”

Usually, I’d agree with Lucius Cary, the Second Viscount Falkland:  If it is not necessary to change, then it is necessary not to change.  But the quality of the schools is not the reason for change.  It is:  Having unelected officials appointed by a small group of officials run the schools.  It does not take the politics out of the process.  It just shuts out the people.  Yes, Supervisor Kelly-Wiecek is right:  You can contact your school board member – I did recently on a critical issue – BUT who is my school board member answering to?  Not to me.  I did not vote for her.  The seven supervisors, and her district supervisor most importantly, did vote for her.

Note that the supervisor only wants the school board to be elected IF they can TAX the people (which they CANNOT presently – that would take a change in STATE LAW so don’t believe any fake news on that!) independently:

Board of Supervisor Chairwoman Angela Kelly-Wiecek does not support changing to an elected school board unless the school board would have taxing authority. Additionally, Kelly-Wiecek touted the track record of the current system and questioned why a change is being pushed for now.

The elected school board also threatens the reign of the educrats over the Hanover school system and this quote proves it (emphasis added):

John Szewczyk is an assistant director with Virginia Professional Educators but commented for this story as an individual who has been attending Hanover school board meetings since the 1980s.

Szewczyk said he supports the present system because he sees no compelling reason to change it. He said having elections in a conservative county like Hanover runs the risk of putting people who are against public education on the board.

No one who is truly against public education will be elected to any school board.  I suspect that this means against the present educational system.  I am sorry, Mr. Szewczyk, I appreciate your activism but the present educational system has too much top down bureaucracy (no excuse for a superintendent salary at $200,000 plus!) and too willing to make the teachers and bus drivers, etc bear the brunt of budget “cuts” and too much political correctness and not enough real education.

So where do I sign up, Julie?  We need to get this on the ballot and I plan to make this a priority.

Now why so many signatures?  Because you need 15% of the county’s voters based on the last statewide election.  Here was the Presidential election in Hanover County in 2016 from the Va Board of Elections:

  • Trump-39,630
  • Clinton-19,382
  • Johnson-2310
  • McMullin-741
  • Stein-314
  • Others-376

TOTAL:  62,753

Just over 9400 signatures are needed and you will need a few more to ensure victory.

I will add:  Elected School Boards were on the Hanover ballot in 1994 and was defeated.  I need to find the cite.

I will add this disclaimer:  Every word I write at this blog is MY opinion and no one else’s.  The opponents of this referendum will fight dirty.  So let’s make it clear:  This is my opinion and I am not a part of this effort.  But I will help however they want me to as my time and family obligations allow.

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood “Sandy” Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia’s first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

4 Responses to “WHERE Do I Sign Up? Hanover Residents and Citizens Seek a Referendum on Elected School Boards!”

  1. Benny James says:

    Hanover County citizens: Remember this comment by Hanover County Board of Supervisors’ Chairman Angela Kelly Wiecek-
    how incompetent-

    NO SCHOOL BOARD IN VA has Taxing Authority
    Taxing authority comes from the General Assembly and that is why Angela plans to run for Delegate from Hanover County-

    TO RAISE YOUR LOCAL TAXES.

  2. mr green jeans says:

    My fellow activists can you tell me why the BOS and HCPS Board have gone “dark”?
    All questions and request for information are ignored. WHY? Did the county attorneys give them a clue something big is coming?
    Why the circled “wagons”? Maybe Benny is onto something? Remember to follow your MONEY. Bike, walking trails for non resident students? More chaos and congestion on the idyllic country roads in Hanover? Tax increases hidden with higher real estate assessments. Maybe Benny is onto something?

    • Benny James says:

      Chairman Wiecek is a Flaming Liberal Democrat parading in “GOP” colors.

      Her comment that they don’t need to politicize the School Board with “elected School board members in Hanover County” is a joke. The School Board is politicized because it is appointed by the Board of Supervisors so they can control every single aspect of the school appointments and CONTRACTS for their POLITICAL DONORS. The people who serve on the school board are incompetent- or have conflicts of interest and should all be removed from office. The chairman of the school board appointed by Buckey Stanley flunked out of college his freshman year at VA TECH and is on the school board because he needs the $12K annual stipend and the “medical benefits” paid by the county because he Chain Smoked Cigarettes for decades. We can thank Bootsy Stanley for his passionate “testimonial” to John Axselle’s qualifications and service for that reappointment over much more qualified and educated nominees last go round at the Board of Supervisors’ meeting to reappoint clown act John Axselle.

      Wake up People. Our children, teachers and schools are suffering under this archaic system that Wiecek wants to preserve along with her Middle Resolution backers who run the county contracts.

  3. Benny James says:

    Hanover School Board Chairman John Axselle, a College Flunk Out, also serves on the Maggie Walker Governor’s School Board. Now what is a high school graduate ( barely) doing serving on a board of a Ivy Leage College feeder school?

    except to collect that paycheck too? Thanks Buckaroo Stanley for appointing that.

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    Tom White Says:

    Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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