HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A Hanover County group, opposed to an upcoming referendum regarding the selection of the school board, held a rally to urge residents to vote against it.

The referendum will be on the Nov. 7 ballot. It will ask voters if they want an elected school board instead of an appointed one.

Currently, county supervisors appoint school board members for their respective voting districts.

Keep Hanover Students First, a grassroots group made up of Hanover residents, opposes an elected board. They gathered on Tuesday night to celebrate students and teachers for test scores, and held up signs saying, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” and “Vote no to political school boards.”

Hopewell City Public Schools and Hanover County Public Schools are two of the few districts in the state that still have appointed members.

In July, a nonpartisan group called Hanover Citizens for an Elected School Board collected nearly 9,000 signatures to get the referendum on the ballot.

Supporters of an elected school board said the potential shift stirs great hopes that it will create a more responsive education system.

But others are worried politics would play a role.

Scott Shufflebarger supports Keep Hanover Students First and their stance on keeping board members appointed.

“By keeping it an appointed school board, it allows the school board to be focused on students first. Not on being reelected or campaigning,” he said.

Shufflebarger also pointed out that school boards handle several matters, and they’re responsible for the county’s low dropout rates, high graduation rates and the highest SOL test scores in the region.

The school division had SOL pass rates in reading at 80%, writing at 66%, math at 83%, science at 77% and history at 78% — all higher than the state’s averages for the 2022-23 year. The county’s school division saw improvements in each subject’s pass rate from last year except for a 1% decrease in both history and reading.

“I think they’re doing an excellent job, so I don’t think there’s a need for a change,” Shufflebarger said.