Entire Franklin School Board resigns after City Council asks them to step down

Posted at 4:30 PM, Nov 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-09 23:14:52-05

FRANKLIN, Va. - The entire Franklin School Board has resigned, Kelvin Edwards, the interim superintendent announced on Wednesday.

The School Board was asked to resign last week by City Council. They were given a deadline of Monday, November 7.

Council met Wednesday night at 7 p.m. to discuss the changes and the future of Franklin City Public Schools.

They went into closed session, then went back into open session, and announced that they accepted the resignations.


Kelvin Edwards the interim superintendent

On Friday, the superintendent of Franklin City Public a Schools, Dr. Willie Bell, was dismissed by the School Board after they held their last meeting before resigning. Edwards was appointed shortly after.

According to the Franklin City Manager, R. Randy Martin, that decision was independent of the city's decision to ask the board members to resign.

He says the school board is appointed, not elected, so council does have the authority.

In a resolution adopted last week, in part, City Council said, "The Franklin City Council has lost faith in the ability of the current members of the Franklin City School Board to faithfully and impartially discharge all the duties incumbent upon them in their appointed office, for neglect of duty and for incompetence in the performance of their duties that has material adverse effect upon the conduct of their appointment to the School Board."

According to the resolution, the school board approached council twice about an appropriation of money for fiscal year 2014-2015, because the school division was not going to have sufficient funds to pay all end of the year obligations that they owed by June 30, 2015.

City council agreed to appropriate $343,000 in additional funds, but it was later determined that the school division did not need the funds. They ended the fiscal year with a surplus of $151,000, in addition to the $343,000.

In the resolution, city council also claims that the school board has another deficit of $481,000 this year.

"Those are pretty serious matters," says Martin. "It wasn't just because of the deficit alone, but it was a very significant fact that played into their decision."

Read the entire resolution asking School Board members to resign: Franklin City Council Resolution

Martin says they are working with their auditors before taking final action on the deficit.

Edwards would only say that they are working to rectify that, and that it is not affecting their day-to-day operations in the classroom.

"We put the children first and we're going to make sure the instruction goes on daily, we're going to make sure we continue the mission."

Martin says they hope to plan a public hearing in the next few days where people can nominate potential school board members. Their goal is to have the spots filled before the December 15th school board meeting.