VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The Rose Hall district seat on the Virginia Beach School Board has been declared vacant.
Virginia Beach Circuit Court Judge James Lewis ruled Thursday that Rose Hall School Board member Joel McDonald’s move outside of the district was enough to remove him from office.
A special election will now be ordered and in the meantime, the remaining 10 School Board members will have the opportunity to appoint a member.
The Virginia Beach School Board will begin taking applications on Aprill 22. Board members must make an appointment within 45 days or state law allows the court to make the appointment.
Following the hearing, McDonald said he planned to apply for the appointment and file to be a candidate in the special election.
“You know I wish I could have known there was a law that could be construed to have me vacate my seat,” said McDonald after the judges rulling. “I was unaware, I was shocked when all of this came to fruition.”
McDonald had served on the board in the Rose Hall seat since 2013. He was re-elected in 2016.
In Semptember 2017, he moved out of the Rose Hall district to the Lynnhaven district according to court testimony. He moved back to the Rose Hall district just last month.
Kevin Martingayle, McDonald’s attorney, argued the school board’s petition was filed after the move back to the district happened.
“It was late, he was back in the district when they filed, this should be a nonissue,” Martingayle said.
He also argued that in order to run for a board district seat the law states you have to live in the district, but after that there is not a requirement you continue to live in the district.
“I still think the wording of the law doesn’t applies to the unique system of elections we have for city council and school board here in VIrginia Beach,” McDonald said.
Virginia Beach is different because even though there are individual districts, everyone in Virginia Beach votes for all the political positions.
The Rose Hall district now has vacant seats on both the school board and city council.
Councilwoman Shannon Kane resigned from her seat last week because she had bought a new house outside of the district.