She titled the post, “Taking back my life,” and added a red heart emoji.
Her resignation comes shortly before she was due to face a trial in the recall campaign against her, which is being led by Fight for Schools, a parent group known for its advocacy against Loudoun’s equity work and whose founder, Ian Prior, is a former Trump administration official.
Prior said in a statement Friday that Barts had “done the right thing,” but warned that his group will continue to target other board members. Fight for Schools is also seeking the recalls of Denise Corbo (At Large), Ian Serotkin (Blue Ridge), Vice Chair Atoosa Reaser (Algonkian) and Chair Brenda Sheridan (Sterling).
The official reason for the recalls is an alleged violation of Virginia open meetings laws. But Fight for Schools has also been public about its displeasure with board members’ handling of pandemic-era education and their support for diversity and inclusion measures.
“The problems at Loudoun County Public Schools and on the school board go well beyond one school board member,” Prior said. “We . . . will keep fighting until we have a school board of common sense, non-partisan members and a superintendent who is accountable to parents and tells the truth.”
Loudoun 4 All, a pro-equity parent group formed recently to combat Fight For Schools and its recall campaign, released a statement Friday lamenting Barts’s resignation and calling it the result of politically motivated harassment.
“Loudoun 4 All is dismayed to see any of our school board members or other elected officials bullied into resigning while our community is being torn apart by groups who are not interested in facts or open discourse, but prefer to cause chaos and forced resignations or recalls to advance their far right agenda,” the group said.
In a statement, Loudoun school board chair Sheridan said the board will appoint a successor to Barts within 45 days of the vacancy. The successor must be a qualified voter in the Leesburg district.
Sheridan said the school board will announce more details of the appointment process at its next board meeting on Oct. 26.
“I want to thank Board Member Barts for her service,” Sheridan said.
Barts was elected for a four-year term on the Loudoun board in November 2019, with about 55 percent of the vote. School board elections are meant to be nonpartisan, but Barts received the support of the Loudoun County Democratic committee.
Her tenure on the board was somewhat checkered. Apart from the allegations from Fight for Schools, she faced censure from her colleagues.
The board voted first to reprimand, then to formally censure Barts — and finally to remove her from school committees — for violating school board rules during some of her interactions with county residents and through her posts on social media. Other board members called her behavior inflammatory.
In a school board document from early this year, chair Sheridan wrote that Barts “fail[ed] to put student interest first” and “to show respect for fellow board members.”
Barts is resigning as the Loudoun school system faces a major controversy over its handling of a student accused of two sexual assaults. Parents are upset that school officials apparently allowed the student, charged with forcible sodomy in the first alleged assault at one high school, to transfer to another Loudoun high school, where the second assault allegedly took place.
Asked whether her resignation was connected to the furor over the assaults, Barts said in a text message that school “processes and procedures were not adequate to respond to these recent events.”
She added, “My Facebook post pretty much says it all.”