Group moves forward with elected school board process

WAVY/Larry Carney

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Norfolk is one step closer to changing how it selects school board members.

Wednesday night, Norfolk Citizens for An Elected School Board announced they had enough signatures to move the process forward. They collected more than 11,000 signatures and turned the petition in to the general registrar, where it was certified.

“It restored my faith and confidence in people that they were really interested in the kids education and worked to get this done,” Dennis Gronka, who led the effort, said.

The petition will give Norfolk voters the choice to change the way the district selects its school board members. The proposal calls for district leaders to be elected directly by Norfolk voters rather than have the School Board members appointed to their positions by City Council.

“I think it would be a good idea to get more people involved in knowing more about the Norfolk Public Schools system as well so they can maybe make better decisions,” Norfolk parent Ashley Holloway said.

The next step in the process is for a Norfolk Circuit Court judge to execute an order of certification. A court spokeswoman said the petition was expected to be signed and approved Thursday and to be put on the November ballot.

Organizer Dennis Gronka said an elected school board will translate to a higher quality of education.

“The citizens need a voice,” he said. “They need to be able to go in front of the school board and present their issues and the school board be responsible to their needs and their kids needs.”

Gronka said now that all the signatures are in the plan moving forward is to get people out to the ballot box in November.

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