Youngkin's revenge: Will entire Loudoun County school board face voters in November?

Glenn Youngkin stunned the political world by winning the gubernatorial election over heavily favored Democrat Terry McAuliffe, riding a wave of parental anger over autocratic education officials. Now the school board at the epicenter of that anger may have to face their voters a lot sooner than expected. Youngkin submitted an amendment to a bill that would force all nine Loudoun County School Board members to face re-election in November, and the state legislature could consider it as soon as two weeks from now:

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Virginia’s Loudoun County School Board, which was accused of covering up the sexual assault of a high school girl last year, could be voted out of office en masse in November if Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin gets his way.

According to a bill amendment backed by Youngkin, all nine board members would be up for re-election this year, 12 months earlier than previously scheduled, according to ABC7.

Following that election, five members would be up for re-election two years down the line while the other four would not face the voters again until 2026.

The proposal will need to be approved by Virginia’s legislature to go into effect.

Youngkin’s amendment follows his day-one order for the commonwealth’s attorney general to investigate potential wrongdoing by board members and the school district regarding the sexual assaults.

It couldn’t happen to a better school board. The LCSB not only covered up sexual assaults in their schools but also tried to demonize the father of one of its victims. That led to the Department of Justice and Merrick Garland making a huge political misstep in casting the parents who criticize school boards in public meetings as some kind of proto-terrorists, which helped catalyze voter anger not just in Virginia but across the country. Meanwhile, further investigation showed LCSB as having failed to adhere to state law in reporting sexual assaults on campus, and having full knowledge of it.

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If any school board had this kind of track record, voters should be given an immediate opportunity to exercise accountability. Youngkin says that Loudoun County parents in particular need to have that opportunity, in service to transparency:

The governor presented the following amendment to HB 1138:

“Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, elections for all nine districts of the Loudoun County School Board shall be held on November 5, 2022. Thereafter, the lot drawing conducted pursuant to 22.1-57.3:1.1 of the Code of Virginia by the Loudoun County Electoral Board to determine the members of four of nine districts who will be elected to the Loudoun County School Board for four-year terms and the members of the remaining five districts who will be elected to the Loudoun County School Board for two-year terms to ensure the staggering of member terms for such school board shall be conducted at the electoral board’s first meeting of 2023 but no later than January 31, 2023.”

The amendment was made public at midnight on Tuesday. Youngkin had until midnight to take action on hundreds of bills the legislature passed during the regular session.

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This still has to be passed by Virginia’s state legislature, which will not be on the ballot in November. (They get elected in off-years, don’t forget.) Still, after experiencing the red wave that LCSB touched off in Virginia, even some Democrats might be happy to get these toxic board members out of the way. How would they oppose the idea, anyway? They would have to defend the term length for officials who committed cover-ups of campus sexual assaults and violated state reporting laws. Good luck storming that particular castle, and good luck winning elections in Loudoun County for the next several years. However, if this passes, the turnout for Republicans in Loudoun in the midterms would be formidable — and maybe throughout Northern Virginia.

Youngkin has stuck Democrats and educational elitists in a trap. We’ll see if they spring it closed on themselves.

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David Strom 1:20 PM | July 18, 2024
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