Virginia Leaders Rebuff Gov. Northam’s Back to School Plan

Virginia Leaders Rebuff Gov. Northam’s Back to School Plan

Some county school districts in Virginia are fighting back against the Northam Administration’s “Back to School Plan”

June 21, 2020

Some county school districts in Virginia are fighting back against the Northam Administration’s “Back to School Plan” citing that the plan is a one-size-fits-all mandate that doesn’t take into consideration the unique demographic and geographic concerns of Virginia’s 133 school districts.

As the Bluefield Daily Telegraph, the Tazewell County School Board passed a resolution to explore legal action against Gov. Northam’s administration for their ill-planned roll-out. David Woodward, the Chairman of the Tazewell County School Board, believes this a clear overreach of the Governor’s constitutional authority:

We do not believe the Virginia Constitution was wrong when placing governance of local schools in the hands of local boards — it is nearly impossible to sit in the seat of state government and make decisions for every school in the Commonwealth, and do so effectively or safely. For this reason, our board is going a step further and exploring our legal options to regain the authority to open, operate, or close our schools based on what the situation is in Tazewell County.

Tazewell County isn’t alone in their assessment of the ‘Back to School’ plan. State Senator Bill DeSteph of Virginia Beach chimed in on Thursday claiming that he has been overwhelmed with calls from constituents voicing their frustrations as well by calling the move ‘gubernatorial overreach.’

The Constitution of Virginia does not grant the Governor the power or legal authority to intervene in the schedules of public school districts. The school board in each locality has the authority and is best-suited to make these decisions.

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