Opinion — A new plan for Prince Edward County Schools

Published 12:05 pm Thursday, June 10, 2021

With none of our three schools accredited, student SOLs falling yet again and a high school that has fallen to a ranking of 314 out of 327 in the state, it is past time to do something drastic for our children and our community.

Plano, Texas, decided excellent schools were the best way to attract people, entice business development and sell homes on the empty cottonfields they had in abundance. They determined the best way to accomplish this was to convince business executives to donate their services for one four-year term and run for the school board. These executives were expected to do what they did best.

Jim Wilck

Hire a top notch, proven successful school superintendent who had not been fired from their last position. In other words, someone who could come in and take charge of the education of students, hire an extra assistant if needed, concern themselves with raising SOL scores, getting all schools accredited and raising the schools’ showings in the statewide rating polls. Delegate to these key employees the decisions that have to be made to accomplish these goals.

The board of executives would then manage the superintendent by setting written and easily measurable goals for the superintendent, review and evaluate these goals in a timely fashion, address any problems or shortcomings. If the goals were not made and corrective suggestions not followed, then the board would be prepared to remove the person from that key position and find someone who could do the job.

The board would involve themselves with what they do best: hiring and managing good employees, doing financial projections/budgeting, making recommendations to county and state representatives for new taxes and support of schools, and any other non-educational need that may arise.

To make the board position more palatable to business executives, the term would be for four years only, and the number and length of meetings would be reduced to cover only the duties set forth for the board. They would not have to be involved with the minutia of the day-to-day education set forth by the superintendent.

The present PECPS board of today is set up for failure. To a large degree it consists of retired teachers who may have been excellent teachers and are good individuals, but they have no experience in hiring, removing, managing, evaluating and correcting key executives. In other words, the board consists primarily of people with no experience doing what they are being asked to do.

Please make a change while we have so much outside help offered to us.

By the way, the Plano plan produced some of the best schools in Texas at that time.

Jim Wilck is a member of the Board of Supervisors for Prince Edward County representing the Farmville district. He can be reached via email at jwilck@embarqmail.com.