Issue leads to turf war among board members© Prince William Times / Apr. 13, 2016
Prince William County School board members fight over who calls the shots when it comes to visiting another member’s district.
Overstepping and a lack of interest by Prince William County School Board members regarding the Godwin Middle School name change were addressed at the board’s April 6 meeting.
Following the March 2 vote to rename Godwin after George M. Hampton, PWCS Chairman Ryan Sawyers, PWCS Occoquan Representative Lillie Jessie, and PWCS Neabsco Representative Diane Raulston met with Godwin faculty. The March 10 meeting focused on the name change and implementation. No information from that meeting has been released.
Godwin is in the Neabsco district and is represented by Raulston.
Community member Diana Allen spoke during the school board meeting’s Citizen’s Time on April 6. She said Raulston did not serve the Godwin community.
Allen told the board that Coles representative Willie Deutsch was the only board member who cared to meet with the community.
“People reached out to me and wanted to talk to me, so I talked to them,” Deutsch said. “As a school board member who makes votes that impact people around the district, I have to listen to people whom my votes impact.”
Deutsch spent time after the March 2, vote speaking with the Neabsco community and held a community meeting at Logan Park in Dale City on April 3, to listen to the Godwin community’s feelings on the renaming.
Jessie and Potomac representative Justin Wilk told Deutsch that he had no right going into the Neabsco district without Raulston’s permission.
Wilk said that board members need to request permission to even enter into another school board member’s schools.
“I did not invite you into my district. I did not ask you to come to my district,” Raulston said to Deutsch.
“We need to do a better job respecting each other,” said Woodbridge representative Loree Williams.
“When you neglect community input and you tell them what you think is right, you’re becoming a dictatorship. We live in a democracy,” Allen said.
“Ms. Raulston, you did nothing but disrupt our attempts to have a meeting,” Allen said.
To hear the entire school board meeting online, go to www.pwcstv.com.
I worked for Prince William County Schools for a long time. I never heard of any rule saying that one school board member can’t go into another’s district. That would probably be the most infantile, ridiculous rule imaginable. It would be common courtesy to notify another school board member that one is meeting with people in his district but that’s about it.
A school board member casts votes all the time that affect everyone. Do we not write to all of them if we feel strongly about something? There is no guarantee they will answer us. Some are more responsive than others.
This school board needs to grow up real fast. They need to be respectful of each other and they need to act like grown ups. They need to respond to constituent concerns. They also need to accept that they are holding no aces (read money) and they need to try to get along with the BOCS rather than poke them with sticks.
I haven’t felt like spanking a school board member in a long time. I am generally very supportive of our school board. I tend to take their side on most any issue. That’s not happening these days. I am fairly embarrassed that I live here in this county.
I am all for bringing back Lisa Bell, Mr. Lattin, Don Richardson, Julie Lucas, Milt Johns, Dr. O, Lucy Beauchamp, and a few more polite souls who at least thought about the kids rather than their own egos. Thanks for your service, guys! (and to all of those who I didn’t mention)
You have a budget that might not pass because of a very divided BOCS. They might not get the budget passed “in a timely manner.” If that is the case, you, School Board, are going to get caught holding a real hot potato. You might find yourself in the very awkward position of having to send out RIF notices to every teacher in the county. No funds, no teachers. If the BOCS budget doesn’t get passed, there will be no school board budget. 57% of 0 is 0.
Then what are you going to do? How is that in-fighting going to work out for you?
Maybe that little 6th grader who spoke so eloquently at the last school board meeting can come set you straight again. Ms. Raulston, she can talk to all of you any way she wants. So can the teachers, although I heard nothing but respect from them.
This county is on the precipice of some real uncharted waters. There is no precedence for no budget.
Every school board member in the county might quickly be hoping Mr. Deutsch shows up to field questions in their district because you are not going to have any answers. You will have mad parents, students, and furious teachers, many of whom will look for jobs in other, more stable jurisdictions.
You might even be begging Mr. Deutsch to show up and help bail you out because you aren’t going to have any solutions, should that ominous prediction come to pass and I hope it does not).