Acie Allen Resigns From School Board

Published 3:22 pm Tuesday, December 18, 2012

BUCKINGHAM – After serving on the school board since January 2000, F. Acie Allen has resigned.

During a phone conversation with Allen, he explained that his resignation was required, as outlined in the Code of Virginia, before his son Matthew could be considered for a teaching position at Buckingham County High School.

“I would just like to thank my constituents for their support through these years and apologize for having to leave at this time,” shared Allen.

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He added, “I feel that we have accomplished much the last 13 years but know that there are lots of issues ahead with budgeting and overall changes in state and federal law.”

Although Allen was absent from Wednesday's school board meeting, the news of his resignation surfaced after the first of two closed sessions.

That first closed session followed a celebratory program that recognized students who achieved perfect scores of 600 on Standards of Learning tests during the 2011-12 school year.

After moving from the BCHS auditorium to the Window Room at the Career and Technical Education Center, the board went into the closed session, which lasted about 20 minutes.

Upon returning to open session, Thomas Hutcherson led with the motion. “Mr. Chairman, I move that we accept the resignation of Mr. Allen, regrettably,” he stated.

Following a second by Kathy Midkiff, David Christian shared that over the last 13 years, Allen has dedicated and donated his time to the students of Buckingham County.

Offering that he understood the reason behind Allen's decision, Christian praised Allen for his efforts to ensure that the school system ran as efficiently as possible in the midst of the numerous unforeseen incidences they experienced.

Agreeing, Chairman Ed Wise stated, “I want to thank him for all of his dedication.”

Wise talked about the countless hours Allen spent on the renovation/addition project on Route 20; and, the hiring of the Dr. Cecil Snead, the division's new superintendent.

“He has been a tremendous help and he will be missed,” shared Wise.

During his tenure, Allen was elected chairman in July 2008; and, served in that capacity until July 2012.

With an obvious sense of reluctance, the board unanimously accepted their colleague's resignation.

Later in the meeting, the board voted to move forward with the process of appointing someone from District 7, Gold Hill, to fill the vacancy until a special election can be held.

According to Superintendent Snead, the process includes submission of letters of interest by qualified voters in District 7 who would like to be considered to fill the vacancy until the special election.

Dr. Snead explained that applicants must submit their letters of interest to the Buckingham County School Board Office by 4:30 p.m. on January 3, 2013.

Dr. Snead offered that although an appointment at the January meeting would be preferable, there are no assurances that timeframe could be met.

The Code of Virginia, Section 24.2-228, stipulates, “When a vacancy occurs in a local governing body or an elected school board, the remaining members of the body or board, respectively, within 45 days of the office becoming vacant, may appoint a qualified voter of the election district in which the vacancy occurred to fill the vacancy. If a majority of the remaining members of the body or board cannot agree, or do not act, the judges of the circuit court of the county or city may make the appointment.”

On Friday, Snead advised that the school board, in compliance with the Code of Virginia, which calls for submitting the request for a special election within 15 days of the vacancy, has written the Circuit Court of Buckingham County asking the court to issue a writ of election.

Section 24.2-226 also states, “The person so elected shall hold the office for the remaining portion of the regular term of the office for which the vacancy is being filled.”

Later during the December 12 meeting, the school board, after completing most of its agenda, went into its second closed session, which included personnel matters.

Upon returning to open session, the board approved its personnel docket. That approval included accepting the resignation of Ronnie Wayne Palmore, social studies teacher at BCHS, effective December 20; and the appointment of Matthew Allen to fill that vacancy.

Decoding the Code

Allen tendered his resignation in adherence to Article 6 of The Code of Virginia, School Boards and Employees of School Boards.

Section 2.2-3119, Additional provisions applicable to school boards and employees of school boards, cites, “Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, it shall be unlawful for the school board of any county or city or of any town constituting a separate school division to employ or pay any teacher or other school board employee from the public funds, federal, state or local, or for a division superintendent to recommend to the school board the employment of any teacher or other employee, if the teacher or other employee is the father, mother, brother, sister, spouse, son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law or brother in-law of the superintendent, or of any member of the school board.”<br />
When discussing the Code with Allen, he explained that the provision does not apply to those board members whose relatives or spouses were employed prior to that member's election to the school board.

Allen also noted that additional provisions of Section 2.2-3119 include exceptions for some planning districts.

A review of the Code revealed, “E. The provisions of this section shall not apply to employment by a school district located in Planning Districts 3, 11, 12, and 13 of the father, mother, brother, sister, spouse, son…of any member of the school board provided (i) the member certifies that he had no involvement with the hiring decision and (ii) the superintendent certifies to the remaining members of the governing body in writing that the employment is based upon merit and fitness and the competitive rating of the qualifications of the individual and that no member of the board had any involvement with the hiring decision.”

Virginia has 21 planning districts. Buckingham is in Planning District 14 with Amelia, Charlotte, Cumberland, Lunenburg, and Prince Edward counties. Planning District 13, which is exempt from the provisions, includes Appomattox, one of Buckingham's neighboring counties.