Virginia School District election process featured on Cass, Morgan ballot

By Ryne Turke on November 5, 2016 at 10:59am

The method in which board members are selected for a Cass County School District has found its way onto the November 8th ballot.

Under the current board election rules for Virginia School District, no township can have more than three members that live in that township on the board at any given time.

Superintendent Brent O’Daniel says that creates a problem for the small city of Virginia with a population of less than 2,000 people.

“Since I’ve been superintendent we’ve had to appoint five different open seats after elections, because we didn’t have enough people run, because they knew they could run. That is because the Virginia township, which is where Virginia proper is and has the most population, already had three members on the board. So some people may have wanted to run or did run and couldn’t get on because of the limitations of the current language,” says O’Daniel.

This isn’t the first time this proposition has appeared on the ballot. O’Daniel explains why he believes the measure has been voted down twice.

“The former language stated a majority of all members of each township within the school boarders had to pass the referendum. We have some townships in the school district with literally five or six people, because it is just a partial piece of that township. Both times that the referendum failed, more than two thirds of the popular vote was in favor of doing this. One or two very small townships, who possibly weren’t educated on it, voted it down. That meant the referendum didn’t pass.”

The proposition would pass if a majority vote for each township is in favor of the item or two-thirds of the overall voters approve.

O’Daniel says the Virginia School Board would be fall into an “interesting situation” if the proposition is passed.

“We have four board members with terms that will be up (in April). However according to our legal council, if this legislation is passed in November then all seven seats will be available, because they will be governed under a new statute.”

The Virginia School District has seven townships in Cass County and a small portion in Morgan County.