My name is Dr. DawnMarie Brittingham, and I am your school board representative for the HolyNeck Borough in Suffolk.
After many years of raising eight children and being an educator in Suffolk, I am now honored to serve the HolyNeck community on the Suffolk School Board. My background, experience, and love for education have prepared me to build relationships with students, parents, educators, and the community. I am already enjoying being part of the process that brings a greater measure of transparency to all matters associated with SPS, particularly when it comes to fiscal accountability, support of student academic growth, and equipping and supporting teachers in their endeavor to nurture the minds of the next generation.
Pleases click the read more option to see my experience and credentials.
Putting Students and Parents First
In dealing with fiscal/budgetary items, not only should the minimal expectations be met, SPS should seek to exceed expectations, specically in the areas of transparency and accountability. The current budget leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to transparency and accountability. Particularly troubling in the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 budgets are that nothing substantive is provided to reveal how the monies budgeted for athletics are allocated outside of a generalized line item category. Moreover, the purchase cards utilized by SPS are not specifically accounted for (who is using the card and what did they purchase), in previous budgets or the upcoming budget for the next school year. On a monthly bases, large sums of money (tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars) can be found collectively on the 60 cards currently used by SPS. There appears to be no regulation or oversight of who uses the cards and how they choose to spend money associated to the purchase cards. Another problamic issue involves how athletic money is accounted for in the budget. SPS families and Suffolk taxpayers have no way of seeing how the athletic funds are dispersed and what happens to any unspent funds at the end of the year.
Students and Parents first is my motto as parents are the primary and greatest educators of their children. Parents rights should always be recognized and respected in schools. Recently, I was endorsed by the Parent's Rights in Education (PRIE) organization for my strong stance when it comes to parent's rights in the education of their children. For more information on PRIE visit: https://www.parentsrightsined.org/prie-pac.html
In recent months, SPS's middle schools and high schools have struggled with issues concerning school safety (bomb threats, weapons on school property, student fights, etc). These issues are a direct result of staffing problems (not enough educators to cover classes) and an arising need for additional resource officer presence on problematic campuses. At the recent City Council Education Committee meeting, school safety was discussed, but there was a clear communication barrier from the School Board to the City Council. Even more disconcerting is that the School Board did not send a representative and that the Superintendent was not present. Additionally, there appeared to be a question as to when school system and Law Enforcement Agencies last performed joint drills, during the school year, associated with school safety. SPS, Law Enforcement Agencies, and City Council need to be involved in developing a strategic plan for how they will respond and provide support in the event of an emergency.
For more than two decades SPS has struggled with abysmal literacy scores, and attempts made to aquire and implement literacy programs to raise scores have failed miserably. In the More Issues link below you will find the most current Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) report detailing the greatest literacy concerns to date. Please Click on the More Issues button get to the link to the VDOE report.