Unions seek to gain a foothold in Hanover County through school board selection process
What appears to be a referendum over school board selection is actually a trojan horse for school board influence and politicization.
What appears to be a referendum over school board selection is actually a trojan horse for school board influence in Hanover County.
On November 7, voters will decide on a referendum that would determine whether the Hanover County school board should be elected. A grassroots group in Hanover County, Keep Hanover Students First, is organizing to defeat the referendum, arguing that county supervisors should continue to appoint school board members for their districts.
KHSF is made up of concerned parents, teachers and members of the community who argue that an elected school board would politicize education. Scott Shufflebarger, who supports the group, said “By keeping it an appointed school board, it allows the school board to be focused on students first. Not on being reelected or campaigning.” It would also limit the pool of candidates. As KHSF says on their website, they’re concerned a change “would almost ensure only candidates who are able to raise the most money, would be in office.”
Hanover County schools were the first to reopen after COVID, have some of the commonwealth’s lowest dropout rates, highest graduation rates and best test scores. The success is hard to argue with. Shufflebarger argues “I think they’re doing an excellent job, so I don’t think there’s a need for a change.”
With money as a factor, it puts union-backed candidates at the forefront. Hanover Citizens for an Elected School Board, the group behind the referendum which got the issue on the ballot claims to be a grassroots initiative, but they are backed by special interest groups – including teachers unions. Hanover County teachers are not unionized, which leaves unions unable to further their agenda in the community’s classrooms. However, if they could get their candidates on the school board, it would be an opportunity to gain a voice without an official presence.
Voters should be aware of exactly what’s at stake when they head to the polls on November 7.