“Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?”
The deafening response when Ben Stein calls the roll for his economic class in the 1986 film “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is a bit how recent public meetings have felt with few citizens in the audience.
The Franklin County School Board widely publicized a public meeting and requested parents and community members attend to gather public input as they begin to search for a new superintendent. This was a golden opportunity to have a say in who is leading the school system that educates our children.
Current Superintendent Dr. Mark Church announced in December he would be retiring effective Aug. 1, two years ahead of schedule.
This newspaper even published an editorial advocating for the public to attend.
Now don’t get us wrong, we understand things come up — parents have sick children, there were some sporting events and it rained, possibly making travel difficult for some. However, it was disappointing to see that for a school district that educates around 7,000 students annually, only 10 people attended the public meeting. Of those 10 people, all but one are employed by Franklin County Public Schools.
The school district also launched a survey, which could be filled out online or via hard copy. It will be interesting to see how many surveys the district actually received as they analyze the results with the Virginia School Boards Association.
The Town of Boones Mill held its first state of the town address Feb. 25, but less than a handful of residents who don’t serve on Town Council or work for the town actually attended the meeting, which was held at Holly Jo’s Creekside Grill. Council member Jason Masching said town officials chose to have the meeting in a restaurant instead of town hall so they could meet people where they are and not just in the meeting chambers.
Likewise earlier this month, the Town of Boones Mill passed a hunting ordinance prohibiting the use of any firearms within town limits other than some limited exceptions. It does not apply to law enforcement or a person whose actions are “justifiable or excusable” in the “protection of life or is otherwise specifically authorized by law.” With the new ordinance, only a person with a valid kill permit from the Director of the Virginia Game and Inland Fisheries may use a firearm to hunt on a parcel of land containing 5 acres or more. No one spoke during the public comment at the meeting or voiced opposition to the ordinance. However, after the ordinance was passed nearly 20 people took to social media to debate the matter.
Would it not have made more sense to attend the meeting and learn what is going in your town and speak up then? Do people not want to have a say in laws that pass or who leads your schools? Why did the board of supervisors meetings fill up when Second Amendment sanctuary was at issue but no one wants to have input on who leads the school district?