Petition wants Accomack Co. School Board to be elected, not appointed

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ACCOMAC, Va. (WAVY) — There is uproar over a school board on the Eastern Shore.

Earlier this month, the City of Franklin dumped their school board after financial concerns. This month, citizens in Accomack County want a school board shake up as well. They’re asking for elections for board members. The movement is being led by parents, like Meredith O’Brien.

“If you have a school that’s failing, what’s the future for those kids?” she asked.

It’s a scenario O’Brien faced when her kids went to Metompkin Elementary. She moved to another Accomack County district because the school isn’t accredited.

“We loved the community, we loved living there,” she said. “The school wasn’t suiting our needs and our children’s needs.”

Obrien said other children can’t do that. Parents, like her, who are upset with school leadership, feel silenced.

“We need the opportunity to, if they’re not perfect, if someone isn’t doing their job, we need to have some accountability there,” O’Brien said.

Right now, Accomack School Board members are appointed. A board of selection commissioners chooses them.

“All of the constituents in Accomack County should have a say in who oversees the running of our schools,” she said.

That’s why she and others worked on a petition. It would make school board positions elected by the people. They needed 2,400 signatures.

“[We have] estimates of over 3,000 signatures,” she said. “Somewhere between 3,000 and 4,000.”

10 On Your Side went to the Accomack County School Board offices to get response to the petition from leaders. The superintendent wasn’t in. WAVY News contacted school board members, but no one has returned our messages.

This has happened before. Several years ago, just south of Accomack County, voters in Northampton County voted to change from appointed to elected officials.

“The same way we did,” O’Brien said. “They set up on Election Day, but they had people pounding the pavement.”

The goal is to have the referendum on the November ballot.