ASHBURN, Va. - Should you be allowed to weigh-in on a local school board meeting if you don’t have a child in the district or live in the area?
One man apparently wants to speak at Tuesday’s Loudoun County School Board meeting so badly, this person is claiming online he leased a property in the area in order to be eligible to participate after LCPS announced a speaker rule change last week.
That LCPS speaker change now requires speakers to show some kind of proof that they are either a county resident, business owner, student, guardian of a student – or a school employee.
"How do you do fellow Virginians" was the response from Matt Walsh, after telling his over 672,000 Twitter followers about his new Virginia lease. Walsh is a Conservative blogger, speaker and podcaster, who interviewed with 105.9 WMAL’s "O’Connor and Company" show on Monday morning where hosts talked about Walsh speaking-out at his own Tennessee school board meeting. Walsh also weighed-in on why he feels he should be able to participate in the LCPS Tuesday meeting.
"…these schools get federal funding, so this is the concern of all taxpayers. We should all be able to have a say for that reason alone," Walsh said in part of his interview with WMAL.
A county schools official tells FOX 5 only about 1% of the school system’s funding comes from federal dollars when asked.
Tensions erupted at a June school board meeting, which made national headlines. For many of those who participated, tensions boiled-over on issues such as transgender policy and the school system’s mask and student athlete vaccine requirements.
In their press release about the speaker rule change, the Loudoun County School Board said this change was to prevent, "out-of-town agitators who would make board meetings a platform for national politics or to enhance their own media profiles."
"I feel that they’re taking away voices that they don’t want people to be heard. And they’re trying to silence someone who doesn’t agree with them," said a woman on Monday who identified herself as an LCPS parent named Kristin.
Flor Hoydilla identified herself as a Loudoun County resident with multiple children in the county’s public school system. Hoydilla said residents also pay a significant amount in taxes.
"Just by leasing a place so they can testify, is just not right. If you don’t have a child in the county, why would you want to testify? It’s the question I have," she added.
FOX 5 was not able to get a hold of Walsh on Monday and see the actual lease.
For tax purposes, it does say online you have to spend so many days in the state in order to be considered an actual Virginia resident. However, the school board information shared on what documentation is eligible, does not make any timeframe clear.
FOX 5 was told if Walsh shows a proper lease, he will likely be able to have the floor on Tuesday.