School Board Meeting 3 February 2020


  • Presentations on African American History and technical career education.
  • Citizen comment period dominated by the president of the NKC Youth Republican Club, who spoke about the NKC Republican Committee and the School Division’s suppression of Club’s first amendment rights to free speech and expression.
  • Superintendent Nichols asks county to borrow $37 million for new elementary school, and proposes 6.6% increase in operating budget for next year.
  • Superintendent Nichols proposes spending $64,000 on redistricting consultant, Cropper GIS.

Meeting Notes:

All members of the NKC School Board were present. (*Barber dialed in remotely)

The meeting was called to order at 1803. There were approximately 25 people in attendance which included a large number of students who were there to talk about activities surrounding African American History Month and to spotlight activities at New Kent Middle School. Superintendent Nichols opened the meeting with a brief statement on his equity initiatives and an equity task force within the School Division to help ensure that every child would be successful.

Recognitions and presentations followed Nichol’s remarks. Of interest was the presentation on technical career education and the partnership with the Bridging Communities Technical Center. The speaker gave a brief overview of the many career tracks available to current students and noted that HVAC would be added in the 20/21 school year if there was enough student interest.

The citizen comment period followed. There were six scheduled speakers, one student and five adults. The student was the president of the NKC Youth Republican Club. He spoke for approximately 15 minutes since every other speaker yielded their time to him. This was obviously a planned event. His speech concerned the NKC Republican Committee and the School Division’s suppression of Club’s first amendment rights to free speech and expression. The student was not very complimentary of the County Republican Committee in general and of one Committee member in particular. He also demanded that the NK High School Principal deliver a written letter of apology for taking down the Club’s Facebook page and freezing their funds. The genesis of the entire spectacle stemmed from the divisive November elections and the division of County Republicans over the Wyatt nomination process. It should be noted that every adult in attendance to support the student speaker was a Peace supporter.

Once the comment period ended, Nichols presented the Board with a New Elementary School Funding Resolution requesting the County BoS issue general obligation school bonds not to exceed $37M to finance the new elementary school scheduled to open in Aug 2021. The Resolution also authorized application to the VA School Board Assn for the purchase of the bonds. A vote on the Resolution passed 5-0. Nichols then highlighted the proposed 20/21 School Division budget. The presentation can be found on the School Division’s website (Board Docs) under meetings/3 February 20/Agenda/New Business, item 7B. He is requesting approximately $37M an increase of 6.6% over the 19/20 budget.

The final new business item was a request by the Superintendent for authorization from the Board to sign and enter into a redistricting services contract with Cropper GIS in the amount of $64K for demographic analysis related to the new elementary school and the boundaries for student assignment to the school. Since the Board had not reviewed the contract and its provisions prior to the meeting, they voted to table the request and revisit it during the 18 February work session.

Prepared by Paul Ross

School Board Meeting Agenda:
(Click Meetings, select 3 February 20, click Agenda)