Loudoun County School Board member Beth Barts on Friday published a Facebook post calling into question the board's selection process to fill a seat that was left vacant following the death of board member Leslee King on August 31.
"I had assumed a special election would be held since the end of the current term is so far off," Barts wrote. "This could have been requested but was not. It seems so strange to me that we are being asked to pick a district representative for a community not made up our own constituents."
King was elected to represent the Broad Run district on the school board on Nov. 5, 2019. Her term would have ended in 2023. The late 74-year-old's death has been attributed to complications following heart surgery.
In her post, Barts cited the appointment process of former board member Chris Croll, who was appointed to represent the Catoctin district in 2018.
"The process was transparent and open during the public interviews and hearing," Barts wrote. "In my opinion as someone simply watching in the audience, that transparency ended when the board went into closed session to discuss and chose a representative. I have inquired and been advised that this is not a requirement but a choice."
She responded to allegations of political partisanship on the board as well, acknowledging that six of the eight members currently on the board ran for office with the endorsement of the Democratic Party.
"While I do not believe we have been politically biased," Barts wrote, "I want to be absolutely open and transparent during this appointment process. More importantly, the Broad Run Community deserves to be able to see and hear the entire process as we select their representative for them."
Barts also noted in her post that the next Loudoun school board meeting is scheduled to be held on Tuesday, September 14, during which she said she would inquire about the school district's recent vaccine mandate for student athletes.
Parents have been "wondering why we are mandating just this group when we have many other groups of students who are also unvaccinated," she wrote.
In an August 31 press release announcing the vaccination requirement for student athletes, Scott Ziegler, superintendent of Loudoun County Public Schools, said student-athletes were a “particularly vulnerable group,” since they’re required to go off-campus and compete against student-athletes in other schools.
“The majority of past COVID-related disruptions to instruction for our high school students have come as a result of exposure during athletic activities,” he said.