Letter — Choose school board wisely

Published 6:16 pm Thursday, September 23, 2021

To the Editor:

A recent edition of The Farmville Herald contained an article stating that Dr. James Dumminger will be running a write-in campaign as the incumbent for the district 701 Prince Edward County School Board seat. It was noted that he has been on the School Board since April 2019 when he was appointed to the Board to fill the vacated seat held by Cainan Townsend and was then elected to the Board in November 2019.

With the track record of all of the current School Board members leadership being described by some in the community as uninspiring, disinterested or complacent, it begs the question of why would anyone wanting to improve the desperately needed quality of education provided to the children of Prince Edward want to vote to reelect any of the current School Board?

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In the recent past, P.E. Supervisor Jim Wilck and The Herald Editor have correctly raised serious concerns regarding the poor student performance and a lack of school accreditation. They noted that no one wants to send their child to a high school that ranks in the bottom 4% of the state, well below the state average math scores, only 11% of students enrolled in in an advanced placement course, and a high school that ranks 314th out of 327 high schools in Virginia.

The Prince Edward School Board’s website states that it is united in a mission “In Excellence” and maintains that their Goal No. 1 is as follows: “The Prince Edward County School Board will strive to create an environment of academic excellence for all students while meeting and exceeding accreditation standards.” Given the horrible achievement statistics noted in the above paragraph, the current Prince Edward School Board is doing nothing less than providing a separate and unequal educational opportunity for every child in the county.

In his campaign statement, Dr. Dumminger noted “that he enjoyed working with the Prince Edward County School Board and is looking forward to cooperating with them to improve all aspects of the school system.” How can anyone who should have been concerned about the future of “all” Prince Edward Country children state that he/she enjoyed working with such a Board that has both generated and tolerated an abysmal and stunning failure of academic performance and school accreditation?

With his own words, Dr. Dumminger has raised more than enough doubt in my mind that there are better qualified candidates to be elected to the Prince Edward School Board. The future of each and every child in Prince Edward County depends on it.

I am encouraging “all” citizens to vote for Susan Kimbrough.

Dr. Robert L. Banton

Professor Emeritus and Past-President of the

Virginia School Boards Association