Roanoke City School Board Selection Process Dilemma Solved

School Board SmallAfter much gnashing of teeth and consultation with City Attorney Dan Callaghan, Roanoke City Council decided that the replacement of school board chairman Dave Carson will be advertised and applications taken until May 3 and reviewed by council on May 6. Carson has been appointed to the 23rd District Circuit Court and will take the bench July 1. His resignation is effective June 12, the day after RCPS graduations.

Mayor Bowers announced that two of the six applicants had withdrawn.

Monday’s council meeting agenda had already stated that the four remaining applicants would be interviewed. Susan Moore who has reapplied for the school board was at a conference in California and was expected to participate by phone.

The disruption of the process and the timing of Carson’s resignation created some confusion on how to proceed. It was a situation council had not faced before. They decided to give the applicants the choice of opting out of the interviews until May 20. Citizen public comments would be heard again at the evening meeting on the same day.

Annette Lewis, current board member, and attorney Mary Beth Nash decided to take their interviews at the April 15 council meeting.  That pushed the 2:00 p.m. council meeting until 6:45 p.m. leaving only a few minutes before the beginning of the 7:00 p.m. public hearing meeting. Charles Meidlinger, another applicant, opted to wait until May 20.

All three waited several hours as the 2:00 p.m. council meeting dragged on way past their 4:00 p.m. public interviews. At the 7:00 p.m. meeting six speakers advocated for the four applicants. School Board Vice Chair Todd Putney advocated for the reappointment of the current trustees Annette Lewis and Susan Moore.

Council then decided to re-advertise for applicants on all three school board openings including filling the unexpired term of Mr. Carson. The four applicants will also be able to apply for Carson’s vacancy.

 By Valerie Garner