. . . And loudly, on School Board issue
It will take awhile for Winchester to have a fully elected School Board. Not until 2022 will all current appointed members either rotate off the board or successfully defend their seats in a popular election. And among the issues to be resolved by a new elected board, with the assistance of City Council, will be, for example, whether members will be term-limited (as they are now, to two four-year terms) or perhaps even be paid for their efforts.
What we do know is that, on Tuesday, the wheels were set in motion — and thankfully so — for these changes to take place and these questions to be answered when city voters overwhelmingly opted to shelve the current appointive method of choosing School Board members in favor of electing them. Representative democracy was more than served, as 63.5% of those voting decided it was time for a change.
We couldn’t agree more, and not because the appointive board members selected by City Council were not up to the task of enacting and implementing school policy. Overall, the job they did was commendable. Nonetheless, as the years rolled by, we — and others, we suspect — bridled at the manner in which the board was formed.
Imagine this: People unwilling — and admittedly so — to test their beliefs, and their political fortitude, in the grand maw of politics would happily be anointed, inducted into what we have called a “closed corporation.” This spawned almost a “We know better” attitude in the city’s School Board precincts, something to which the everyday folks of Winchester finally caught on. And rebelled against.
Thus, city voters made history Tuesday, ushering Winchester’s first-ever citizen-initiated voter referendum to a successful conclusion. Thanks to them, of Virginia’s 133 school boards, only 15 now are appointed.