UPDATE 8/13: Norfolk Circuit Court clerk George Schaefer announced today that 11,582 signatures were validated by the voter registrar, just two more than required. The issue will now be voted on by voters in the November elections.
If passed, School Board elections would be held along with the City Council elections in May 2016.
NORFOLK -- A citizens group turned in more than 17,500 petition signatures at the Norfolk Clerk of Courts office Wednesday afternoon to have voters decide whether to switch the Norfolk City School Board from appointed to elected board members.
"We're trying to get a better education system for the kids, so their SOL scores go up," says Dennis Gronka who heads of the Norfolk Elected School Board group. "The appointed system hasn't worked, the SOLs keep on going down....the school board should be accountable to the people."
The group needed 10 percent of the city's registered voters, about 11,600 signatures, to sign a petition to get the issue on the ballot. The group says they've exceeded that goal by 45 percent.
"At school board meetings, some board members are on their iPods and not paying attention to the concerns of parents and teachers," says Gronka.
Norfolk is one of the few independent cities in Virginia where the city council appoints school board members.