Henrico parents anxious after board member’s resignation

Posted at 1:08 PM, Aug 21, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-21 16:03:06-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) -- Effective Wednesday Diana Winston is no longer a member of the Henrico County School Board, after she submitted her resignation letter back on Aug. 12.

According to Virginia code, the school board has 45 days from the resignation to select a replacement for Winston.  However since the vacancy occurred so close to this year’s elections, Winston’s seat will be up for a special election in November 2014, according to Henrico County School Board Chair Beverly Cocke.

Cocke also told CBS 6 News reporter Jerrita Patterson:

"We as school board members are charged with looking out for the best interest of all children in the county.  But with that said, the Three Chopt District will have a representative by the end of September.  We will announce a timetable and qualifications for filling the school board vacancy at tomorrow's (Thursday's) monthly meeting."

Winston stepped down from the school board after questions were raised about close relationships between her family and Henrico Superintendent Dr. Patrick Russo--who is currently on paid leave from the district.  At the center of the controversy are several contracts Winston's husband's company had with the school system.  Contracts that are said to have  been established before Diana Winston was a board member.

It's not only the vacancy, but the controversy surrounding the sudden resignation of Diana Winston that has some parents confused and concerned on what impact this could have on their children just days away from the start of classes.

"It really frustrates me because how does that affect the rest of the board members and how they are handling this at the moment," Henrico parent Regina Barbour asked.  "That really takes a toll on the kids as well.  We need someone to focus on our kids and to come in and take power of that."

Winston is currently being investigated by Henrico Commonwealth's Attorney Shannon Taylor at the request of the school board about any potential conflict.

Stay with and CBS 6 News for updates on this story.