School Board set for meetings this week

Published 9:22 pm Monday, August 5, 2019

The Suffolk School Board is set for a busy week.

It plans to hold a closed-door meeting at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the College and Career Academy at Pruden.

At that time, the board is expected to get its first look at candidates to replace outgoing Superintendent Dr. Deran Whitney, whose official retirement date is Sept. 1.

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Though the meeting will start in open session, the board will move to go into closed session to discuss specific candidates.

For the past month, the Virginia School Boards Association has been conducting a search for a new superintendent, with applications closing on the position last Friday. VSBA met with the board in June to discuss the search, and, after a public survey, the board approved the characteristics it wants to see in a superintendent.

It anticipates holding first interviews with prospective superintendent candidates later this month or September.

On Thursday, the board will be meeting for most of the day.

First, it will hold its regular monthly meeting at 9 a.m. at King’s Fork High School, followed afterward by its annual vision planning meeting, scheduled to start at 10 a.m. and last for most of the day.

One expected topic for the board’s regular meeting is discussion on a funding source to help pay for a school facilities study. During a joint meeting with City Council last month, both school board and council members were in agreement about hiring a consultant to perform a school facility needs assessment, review school attendance zones and examine student generation rates. Both the council and the school board would kick in funds to pay for the study.

Once the funding sources are identified, a request for proposals would be advertised, and then both City Manager Patrick Roberts and Superintendent-Designee Dr. LaToya Harrison would appoint staff to serve on an RFP review committee.

Roberts said at the joint meeting that a study for Suffolk’s 21 schools would cost around $350,000, with the final cost to be determined by the proposals the city receives to conduct such a study. He said it would be a 30- to 45-day RFP process, which would allow for a consultant to be on board by late fall and a study completed around spring 2020.

Agendas for the meetings had not been posted to the school division’s website as of 6 p.m. Monday.