Bedford Co. School Board passes resolution for teachers & staff, discusses redistricting

Published: Jul. 15, 2022 at 1:42 AM EDT
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BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - June 9, The Bedford County School Board unanimously passed a resolution in support of parental rights. But a 3-3 tie led to the school board not being able to pass a resolution in support of teachers and staff.

A public comment session July 14 was filled with Bedford County Public Schools teachers voicing their disappointment that one was passed and the other wasn’t.

“There are many people who take to heart what is listed in these documents and feel that they are important because they feel appreciated and supported through these positive affirmations, and the fact that you would approve one for parents and then not approve one for teachers doesn’t sit well with us and with them,” said one Staunton River Middle School teacher.

The resolution in support of teachers and staff was revisited Thursday night, but the original resolution was once again not passed. Board members Christopher Daniels, Marcus Hill and Dwayne Nelms once again voted against it, with Matthew Holbrook (who was not at the meeting in June) as the tiebreaking vote. Georgia Hairston, Dr. Susan Mele and Susan Kirby once again voted for it.

After the original resolution was not passed, Daniels presented an amended resolution document that was passed around to the School Board members. Hairston, Kirby and Mele called on the board members to give them until next month’s meeting to review the document before it was voted on.

“As a fellow board member I am asking you to withdraw it to give us time to review it,” said Kirby.

But Hill insisted there be a vote on the amended resolution, which was then passed 4-3.

“I understand wanting to be recognized and having a pat on the back. But if we can do that in a way that also addresses the other concerns they have, I think we put together a better bill,” said Daniels.

Just before this back-and-forth discussion, Dr. Mac Duis and Mark Blankenship presented a Bedford County Public Schools proposed plan for redistricting elementary schools.

The proposed plan focuses on spreading out students more evenly across the elementary schools. Two of the more populated schools include New London Academy and Forest Elementary School. A part of the plan hopes to move more students into Otter River Elementary School and Thomas Jefferson Elementary School.

The plan also identifies properties in the area, how many students will be coming from those developments and which schools they would like to have them attend.

According to BCPS’s data, 165 students will be redistricted if the plan is successful. School board members were all in support of the proposed plan.

The next step is for BCPS to get a survey out to community members and hear their thoughts. There is no meeting date when the school board might vote on the proposed plan.

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