Dawn Shelley had the Spotsylvania County school division pay $2685 to the Virginia School Board Association (VSBA) for various services and seminars she attended from 2019 to 2022. At the June 13th school board meeting, school board member Lisa Phelps read a specific list of Dawn Shelley’s expenses. The VSBA is an organization that holds leftist views with their pro-collective bargaining (in other words pro-labor union), anti-school voucher, and anti-school choice positions pushed by paid lobbyists. We covered this in earlier Spotsy Wire articles.
At the June 13th school board meeting, Shameful Shelley asserted that spending a few hundred dollars at a conservative conference was a crime and needed to be paid back. Yet, Shelley spent $2685 of taxpayer money to the VSBA. Shouldn’t Shelley have to pay back the $2685? Doesn’t Shameful Shelley see the double standard? Please watch the below video.
At the June 13 school board meeting, Lisa Phelps explains that the Spotsylvania County school division pays the Virginia School Board Association (VSBA) $12000 per year in membership fees. This does not include the cost for seminars or other services that that VSBA provides. The overall cost by Spotsylvania County taxpayers we suspect is much higher. Check out the video below.
Shelley, Cole, and other leftists make the claim that spending a few hundred dollars at a conservative conference is a crime. Yet, Shelley, Cole, and other leftists have no problem spending over $12000 in taxpayer dollars towards a partisan leftist organization. The double standard is self-evident. Why is there not more outrage against spending $12000 plus vs just a few hundred dollars?
The VSBA claims to be a nonpartisan organization. However, the Spotsy Wire has provided evidence from the VSBA website that this is not the case. VSBA has leftist positions that are pro-labor union, anti-school choice, anti-school vouchers, and has lobbyists pushing pro-leftist partisan issues. Check out our earlier articles on this issue.
The Virginia School Board Association (VSBA) advocates for leftist partisan positions despite claiming that the organization is nonpartisan. Here are two more pieces of evidence showing they are partisan.
The first screenshot is from the VSBA Legislative Positions document from January 2021. The items highlighted in yellow in the screenshot are also bulletized below. The positions against school choice and school vouchers are partisan positions from the left. Conservatives favor school choice because it increases competition which forces educational institutions to innovate or improve their educational product. If an educational institution offers a bad product, then they go out of existence.
“VSBA opposes federal or state efforts to mandate school choice…”
“With vouchers and tuition tax credits, private and home schools would have an advantage in competition with public schools because they can be selective in admissions and can refuse to provide services which public schools by law must provide”
“The VSBA opposes any federal or state voucher and tuition tax credit legislation and any legislation that would provide vouchers or tuition tax credits for elementary and secondary private and home-schooled school students”
The second screenshot is from the 2022 VSBA Legislative Priorities document. Again, the positions against changing charter school law and school choice are partisan leftist positions. The items highlighted in yellow in the screenshot are bulletized below.
“VSBA supports the existing charter school law, which allows local school boards to establish such schools/programs and opposes any attempt to remove local school board authority from this process”
“The VSBA opposes federal or state efforts to mandate school choice, including efforts to divert or condition funding from existing federal and state programs”
The Virginia School Board Association (VSBA) spends time advocating for leftist political positions. The VSBA behaves just like a political action committee. Spotsylvania County schools pays a significant amount of taxpayer dollars to the VSBA for membership dues or seminars.
Shelley, Daniels, and Cole are the left members of the school board that are strong advocates of VSBA. These left members of the school board complained that the conservative members spent taxpayer dollars on a conservative conference. The hypocrisy is obvious. Shelley, Daniels, and Cole have no problem spending taxpayer dollars to the VSBA; an organization pushing leftist political positions.
Our first screenshot is from the VSBA advocacy government relations webpage. This webpage shows that VSBA behaves like a political action committee. Look at the items in yellow. It is clear that the VSBA is engaged in political activity funded by the taxpayer. The point of a lobbyist is to persuade politicians that a partisan position should be part of a piece of legislation.
“VSBA lobbyists regularly provide updates via our legislative blog”
“The VSBA Executive Director and lobbyists are in daily contact discussing legislation and politics that drive the Associations Lobbying efforts…”.
Our second screenshot is from the VSBA 2019-2020 annual report. This shows that VSBA holds partisan political positions. Again, look at the items in yellow. It mentions new policy focus with democrat control, defeating specific pieces of legislation, labor relations, and collective bargaining which is a euphemism for unions. These are partisan political issues pushed by the left.
“The annual VSBA Capital Conference was held in January bringing over 300 school board members to Richmond to engage members of the Virginia General Assembly”
“The 2020 legislative session saw the Democrats in control of both chambers of the legislature and the Governor’s mansion for the first time in over twenty years. The change of the majority party in the legislature brought new policy focuses that will impact school boards in Virginia.”
“The session saw many bills dealing with labor relations in 2020 including SB 939/HB 582, which will allow for local school board employees to enter into collective bargaining agreements”
“The VSBA Lobbying team was able to defeat the following pieces of worrisome legislation”
The Virginia School Board Association is a political and partisan organization. Look at how VSBA representatives presents republican sponsored bills at a VSBA conference from January 2022. This video comes from the Fauquier TABS YouTube channel. Anyone that says VSBA is not political is delusional.
The Free Lance Star and ABC 7 News implied that misconduct occurred when the conservatives on the school board attended an education conference sponsored by Middle Resolution PAC. These media organizations claimed it was an ethics violation to attend a conference associated with a political organization.
If this is the standard that the Free Lance Star, Adele Uphaus, and ABC 7 use, then certainly the same standard applies to leftist school board members Dawn Shelley, Nicole Cole, and Lorita Daniels. All three have promoted and associated with the Virginia School Board Association. The recent Free Lance Star article mentioned that Shelley and Cole wanted to attend a VSBA event paid with taxpayer dollars but were denied by Twigg.
The VSBA is a political and partisan organization as mentioned in our May 16 article. Below are screenshots of the lobbying efforts performed by the VSBA on the Virginia Public Access Project website. Lobbying is a political activity for a partisan effort. Dawn Shelley stated at a recent school board meeting that she wanted to pay VSBA for the superintendent search with taxpayer dollars. Dawn Shelley has been using VSBA events paid for by taxpayer dollars to get professional learning credits for her teacher certs.
The hypocrisy is self-evident. The Free Lance Star, Adele Uphaus, and ABC 7 news are all hypocrites. They do not want to mention that VSBA is political and partisan. They do not want to hold the same standard. They do not want to mention that taxpayer money went to a political and partisan organization. We wonder how many payments were made to VSBA when the left controlled the school board in the past five years. To see our earlier article on why VSBA is a partisan political organization, go here – https://spotsywire.com/2022/05/16/vsba-and-the-may-16-adele-hit-piece/
The Virginia School Board Association (VSBA) spends time advocating for many far-left positions. VSBA maintains a legislative priorities document for their lobbying efforts in the state legislature. VSBA members even went after parents protesting in Loudoun County. VSBA continues to be a long-time affiliate of the National School Board Association (NSBA) which is the same organization that has pushed CRT in education, equity instead of equality of opportunity, etc.
Adele Uphaus from the Free Lance Star wrote an article implying misconduct by three of the conservatives on the school board. Adele suggests that the educational conference is political, so it is an ethics violation. Adele also mentions that school board members Dawn Shelley and Nicole Cole were denied the opportunity to attend VSBA events.
The article by Adele is nothing more than a hypocritical hit piece that lacks some basic context and basic research. The VSBA is clearly a political organization otherwise they wouldn’t spend so much time lobbying. Spotsylvania County schools has had a close association with VSBA for years. Spotsy schools has used tax payer dollars to pay membership dues to VSBA.
It’s amusing watching the reaction online. Many commenters on the left suggest that the conservatives attending the educational conference is corruption or a waste of taxpayer dollars. Yet, the left makes no mention about how Spotsy Schools has spent a lot of taxpayer dollars over many years to the political VSBA organization. This waste was condoned by the left block on the school board in years past.