Franklin City Council demands resignation of school board

FRANKLIN, Va. (WAVY) — Franklin City Council is demanding the resignation of the entire Franklin School Board, WAVY’s Matt Gregory reports.

According to a resolution, city council has lost faith in the ability of current members to do their job.

The resolution alleges that the school board failed to “properly manage and control” money that was made available for public schools over the past two years. City manager Randy Martin said this demand has teeth in it.

“The city council by state statute has the authority for appointments,” Martin said. “Some school boards are elected ours are appointed.”

In one instance cited in the resolution, the board reportedly requested a total of more than $340,000 in additional funding from council in 2014/2015 because the school division was not going to have sufficient funds to pay all year-end obligations. The city council says it provided the funds, but then the school system didn’t need the money.

This year, council claims the school board had another deficit. The gap is around $481,000.

2015/2016 Financial School Report

In October, 10 On Your Side spoke with Franklin Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Willie Bell. He said there was a deficit, but he planned to ask the city to transfer funds from another school contingency fund.

“[That’s money] we had for two years that we did not use,” Bell said. “It’s about $495,000.”

The resolution calls for all members of the board to resign by Nov. 7 or face a petition to remove them from office. 10 On Your Side called all school board members. Only one returned our calls. He said he would be resigning.

Thursday, the school board had another meeting. This meeting was a closed session. A memo mentioned that the school board would be “consulting with legal counsel” on an issue that “requires legal advice.” Members of the school board outside the meeting would not explain what the issue is.

In fact, the members wouldn’t discuss anything that happened behind closed doors or what they planned to do after the council’s resolution.

“I don’t agree or disagree with the council,” one school board member said. “No comment.”

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