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Hanover voters split on new referendum that could potentially allow voters to elect school board

Posted at 10:29 PM, Sep 13, 2023

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- In just two weeks, voters across Virginia will be able to start casting votes in the 2023 election.

In Hanover County, that means voters will get to decide if they want to have the power to elect school board members.

People on all sides of the issue campaigned at a Hanover School Board meeting this week.

One group of community members wore stickers and held signs saying, "Vote no on the referendum."

Others held signs that thanked school board members and congratulated the district on its standard of learning scores. 

"It's working. Look at how well our kids are doing and how healthy and happy they are in schools," parent Michael Nix said. 

Nix wants things to stay the same.

He said the current leaders are making good decisions which is why he believes the district has the highest standard of learning scores across the region.

He also feels allowing school boards to be elected puts politics into education.

“It invites money, the more money you pour into it the more influence you have. These appointed school board members, there is no influence there is no money being thrown their way," he shared.

Kelly Merrill and Louise Evans also showed up at the meeting.

Merrill and Evans are both part of a group called the Hanover Citizens for an Elected School Board

Their group calls themselves a nonpartisan, diverse coalition of parents, educators, community leaders, and concerned citizens.

Members collected enough signatures to give Hanover residents the opportunity to vote on the issue.

“We are a group of dedicated Hanover citizens who want good government in Hanover," said Evans.

Evans believes electing school board members reduces politics because school board members run as non-partisan, which she believes takes politics out of it.

They also believe it brings much-needed transparency to the position.

“We don’t know what is happening under the table behind closed doors with an election process we would have a much better idea of what these people stand for prior to us selecting them," Merrill shared.

Both groups plan to continue to campaign on the issue.

All community members in Hanover will get to have a say on the issue on Election Day, November 7.

Early voting begins September 22.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

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