Norfolk man fights for elected school board

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A Norfolk man wants to change the way school board members are selected in the Mermaid City.

Right now, school board members are appointed by Norfolk City Council, but Dennis Gronka says that doesn’t give parents or residents much of a say in the education process. So, he’s collecting signatures on a petition, hoping to gather enough to get an item on November’s ballot as a referendum.

“It’s really simple,” Gronka said. “All we’re trying to do is get a question on the ballot to give people a choice between an elected school board and an appointed school board.”

Gronka said the way school board members are selected now leaves parents and residents without a voice.

“If we can get an elected school board, hopefully they will be more responsive to parents,” he said.

What’s also interesting about Gronka is he has no kids in Norfolk City Public Schools, and he doesn’t work for the school system. He said he’s passionate about getting this measure on the November ballot for the future of the city.

“I want kids to be educated,” he said. “The better educated the kids are, the better the community is, the better the workforce is.”

With his organization, Norfolk Citizens for Elected School Board, Gronka has convinced more than 8,500 Norfolk residents, like Hazel Mcclarin, to sign up.

“I have grand kids and great grand kids. I think we should have a choice in who represents them in school,” Mcclarin said.

Gronka’s group still needs more than 11,000 signatures. With little manpower and even less time Gronka plans to keep collecting signatures until the July 14 deadline.

If you would like to volunteer with the Norfolk Citizens for Elected School Board, call 287-3401. You can also find more information about the petition by clicking here or by calling 966-0132.

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