In Virginia, county school boards are composed of one member from each district in that county, and sometimes include an at-large member. Board members are elected to four-year terms and serve as the leaders of the school districts by setting policies and hiring the superintendent, among other duties. The Buckingham County School Board has seven members, one from each district.
Pamela “Pam” Morris is running unopposed to represent District 3. Morris is the incumbent; she won the seat in an unopposed election in 2019.
Morris is the only candidate certified by the Virginia Department of Elections, though voters can write in other candidates if they choose.
Charlottesville Tomorrow designed a questionnaire based on more than 200 responses we received to a voter survey. Here’s what Morris had to say.
Tell us about the challenges with Buckingham County Public Schools’ budget. How would you as a school board member handle these challenges? Is there anything you could do to improve funding for schools?
Pamela “Pam” Morris: Budget impacts what we can do in our district. There are improvements that need to be made that are delayed due to lack of money available. Grants have been helpful to get some things done and we will continue to apply for them.
Many school districts are struggling to hire and retain teachers. How would you, as a school board member, work to address this issue in Buckingham County?
Morris: We need to start recruiting teachers early. We need to offer competitive pay and a good working environment.
Districts are also struggling to hire and retain bus drivers. How would you propose addressing this issue?
Morris: We need to support our bus drivers by making sure students follow rules on the bus.
Tell us about the achievement gaps for students in your district. What sorts of programs do you favor to close those gaps?
Morris: Achievement gaps can be narrowed by providing support to struggling students. Offering solid early learning also helps with this.
Tell us about student safety in your district. How should the district keep students safe in school?
Morris: Safety is a huge priority. Having resource officers in our schools helps keep students safe. Teachers know what to look for and how to address concerning situations.
Youngkin recently released model policies that define how school officials should treat transgender or gender nonconforming students. The policy, for example, requires teachers to have parental consent before calling students by names or pronouns that are not on their official records. Do you support adopting these policies?
Morris: Parents are held responsible for their children up to the age of 18. I believe this should be the case for all areas.
Tell us about the history and social studies curriculum you would support your district using.
Morris: I believe it is important to tell the facts about the history of the United States and Virginia. We can learn from both the positive and negative events.
There are several seats open on the Buckingham County School Board for which there are no candidates. Why is it difficult to get people to run for these seats, and do you see this creating issues for the board once the new term begins?
Morris: All seats have people running for office. There are write-in candidates for those positions where no one is on the ballot. People are reluctant to hold a public office in today’s political climate.
Are there any other important issues facing the school district that you’d like voters to know about?
Morris: We need to support our schools in all areas. The future of our children depend on this.
More links about the Buckingham County School Board
- Morris’ campaign contributions, from the Virginia Public Access Project
- The Virginia School Quality report for Buckingham County Public Schools
As you get ready to vote, here are some key dates and links from the Virginia Department of Elections:
Polls in Virginia close at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7, night. The Virginia Department of Elections will publish election results in real time, as they arrive from precincts around the state. To view them, head to this link. These are unofficial results until they are certified. Here’s more about how to get election results.
- Sept. 22: First day of in-person early voting at your local registrar’s office.
- Oct. 16: Deadline to register to vote, or update an existing registration. You can also register after this date, and on election day, but you will vote with a provisional ballot, could take longer for officials to count because they will verify your eligibility.
- Oct. 27: Deadline to apply for a ballot to be mailed to you. Your request must be received by your local registrar by 5:00 p.m.
- Oct. 28: Voter registration offices open for early voting.
- Nov. 4: The last day of in-person early voting at your registrar.
- Nov. 7: Election Day. Here is where you can find your polling place.
Need to know if you’re eligible to vote? Here are resources from the Virginia Department of Elections.