“Help” for Petersburg II: Mirror of VBOE Incompetence

The Petersburg Public Schools have been laboring under the supervision of the Board of Education since at least 2004.

The results are appalling.

Here, to start, are this year’s accreditation calculations. (See this post for descriptions of the L1 and L2 benchmarks and the various score boosts.)




Or, in summary:


Petersburg reached this condition as the latest step in a march to abject failure. The decline was exacerbated in 2017 when the staff at AP Hill Elementary (now Cool Spring) were caught cheating.

And, please remember that the accreditation system is rigged to avoid this kind of failure.

The Board’s intervention at Petersburg goes back to a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) in 2004:


Approaches of the last two MOUs illuminate the Board’s feckless approach to improving the Petersburg schools. In November, 2009 the Board took over the Petersburg system:

The VBOE and the VDOE will continue to assign a CAO . . .   The CAO will have administrative authority over processes, procedures, and strategies that are implemented in support of the MOU and funded by targeted federal and state funds with subsequent review and approval by the Petersburg City School Board.

Then, in April, 2016 the Board retreated to “coordinat[ion]” and “technical assistance”:

The Director of [Office of School Improvement] will coordinate with school division staff and other VDOE offices to develop a Corrective Action Plan for Petersburg Public Schools and to provide technical assistance in support of the MOU and Corrective Action Plan.

Notwithstanding this pusillanimity, The Board has the authority to compel Petersburg to fix its schools:

Va. Code § 22.1-8 provides: “The general supervision of the public school system shall be vested in the Board of Education.”

Va. Code § 22.1-253.13:8 provides:

The Board of Education shall have authority to seek school division compliance with the foregoing Standards of Quality. When the Board of Education determines that a school division has failed or refused, and continues to fail or refuse, to comply with any such Standard, the Board may petition the circuit court having jurisdiction in the school division to mandate or otherwise enforce compliance with such standard, including the development or implementation of any required corrective action plan that a local school board has failed or refused to develop or implement in a timely manner.

Yet the Board has never sued Petersburg, or any other division, to compel compliance with the law. The reason is clear: The Board would have to tell the judge what the division must do to comply with the law but the Board DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO FIX BAD SCHOOLS [Sept. 21, 2016 video starting at 1:48].

I think it is past time for the Board members (and their staff at VDOE) to be directed to work that is better suited to their capabilities.