A city School Board race that initially heard from only crickets has suddenly gotten hot. As the June 12 deadline to file for candidacy neared, three candidates—Lynette Meynig, Kathleen Galvin and Colette Blount—entered the race days before the deadline. They joined candidates Grant Brownrigg, Llezelle Dugger, Alvin Edwards and Sean McCord who had previously announced.
Llezelle Dugger, a public defender, is one of seven candidates running for four slots on the city School Board.
O.K., so city School Board elections are way off in November, but it’s never too early for School Board geeks to start memorizing all the educational minutiae.
Edwards, a former mayor, serves as the chair for the city’s current School Board and is the only incumbent. The other six candidates are fresh faces. Dugger, an assistant public defender whose daughter Lauren will start kindergarten in the fall, says she’s meeting with students’ parents. “Between now and August,” she says, “is going to be an education time for me.” McCord’s in the same boat. He says he’s learned so much by talking to both kids and parents that he’s advocating community forums for all seven candidates.
Meanwhile, Brian Wheeler and Patrick Wood are facing off for the single at-large seat on the Ablemarle County School Board. Wheeler, the executive director of development watchdog Charlottesville Tomorrow, is the incumbent and says an aging work force is placing demands on the school system’s budget. “Competitive compensation and the budget have been major issues, and will be,” he says. “We have a work force that’s aging and approaching retirement.” He says the School Board will work with the county Board of Supervisors to set tax rates that provide enough money to bring in the best teachers as others retire.
It’s no shock if Wood agrees with paying teachers what they’re worth. He teaches fifth grade at Central Elementary in Fluvanna County and says that classroom experience makes him the most qualified. “I don’t think anyone on the Board, except for those who have taught in the past,” Wood says, “can speak to what goes on in a classroom today.” It’s a perspective he says he will bring to the Board. “I live and breathe” the classroom, says Wood.
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