Virginia Beach School Board creating committee to catch out-of-date policies

The Virginia Beach School Board has about 670 bylaws, regulations and policies that cover everything from employee regulations and student discipline to school start times and communication with the public.

As those rules age, they can fall out of step with state and federal law. The School Board has no committee in charge of supervising when that happens, however.

“I’ve never been in a school division where you didn’t have a standing policy committee,” Superintendent Aaron Spence said at the board’s Nov. 17 work session.

He added, “We don’t have great mechanisms for constantly reviewing and discuss policy. This would be the mechanism by which the board would regularly review policy.”

School Board Chairman Dan Edwards said the board will propose a change to its bylaws at its Dec. 1 meeting to allow the creation of such a committee, and that a vote to approve it would happen Dec. 15. The committee would then begin getting assignments in January with a directive to report back to the board with recommendations.

The committee as planned would include two staff members — Marc Bergin, the superintendent’s chief of staff, and Kamala Hallgren Lannetti, the deputy city attorney for public education — and a few school board members. The number of board members has not been decided, but there was discussion about having three.

“There are about 400 (policies) that we need to prioritize and take a look at,” Lannetti said.

Edwards joked that they’re lucky the policies are online now, unlike when he first joined the School Board.

“When I got on the board, they were all in paper,” Edwards said. “They were delivered to us, and they took a dolly and stacked it about five-and-a-half, six-feet tall.”

Edwards said the committee would help eliminate the confusion that has happened in the past when policy change proposals were presented to the board.

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