Another chance at board appointment

James Barrett's picture

Joe Green has resigned from the CHCCS School Board (not that you'll notice that in the lack of media around here)

But I doubt we'll get into another "5th place finisher" fight because I heard MaryAnne Gucciardi moved out of the district as well.  But I'm sure there will be interesting questions about whether to appoint another African-American.  Or why not a Hispanic- or Asian-American given the large populations (14 and 11% respectively)? 



Total votes: 13


Ruby Sinreich's picture


Yes, why bother with all these elections anyway? I'm sure some privileged individual(s) could save us all time by picking the candidates. It's not like anyone might disagree on who is the "most qualified."

No, Race/Ethnicity Should Be Sole Criterion

I have been concerned about the lack of representativeness on the Board of Education for some time.  It is time that we create an "Asian-American" seat.  Of course, "Asian" encompasses a broad range of the human family so we would have to engineer this carefully.  Perhaps a four year hitch could be divided into two years for someone of East or Southeast Asian descent and two years for someone of South Asian descent - a sort of shared seat.  Focusing on South Asians, we could further subdivide this group into Hindu South Asians and Muslim South Asians (one year each).  I suppose we could put a Sikh on the Board every so often and a Christian South Asian about every 75 years. Some similar algorithm could be created for a Latino/a seat. Joe Green's resignation gives us one of these seats.  Where do we get the other one?  I guess one of the remaining African-American members has to go to make room.  Oh, and the replacement must be a man.  The Board was serious unbalanced a few years ago with Mike Kelley as the only male.  If Green is replaced by a woman, the count will be 5-2 and that would unacceptable.  Frank McBride

Ruby Sinreich's picture


I'm not sure whether you're kidding about this, Frank.  I mean, you really want to designate 1-year seats to specific religions and regional ethnicities? And also specify their gender??? If this isn't a joke, it is at best a ham-fisted approach to what is a legitimate problem.

Of course

It scares me that our racial politics are such that Frank's comment might be seen as serious.  He was joking to point out that quota systems, especially for elected officials, are absurd.

Mia Burroughs's picture

First discussion

The next meeting of the Chapel Hill Carrboro School Board  is scheduled for Thursday evening October 7.  That will be the first opportunity for Board discussion on this topic and I assume that we will talk about it then.  At this time I'm in listening mode and will not weigh in further.

Mia Burroughs's picture

Options for new board member selection

If you go to the link below,  then click on the 4c (one of the options on the left of the screen), you will find the background information the CHC School Board will be considering regarding how to select a replacement for Joe Green.  This person will only serve for a little more
than a year. Then there will be fifth seat up for election in November
2011 that will have a two-year term.  On Ocober 7th we will be discussing a choice between appointing a formerly-elected school board member or holding our regular application and interview process. Note that the next highest vote getter has moved out of the county.  An additional unusual factor is that we are just starting our comprehensive search for a new Superintendent concurrent with filling this vacancy. [link]P.S. Our Board materials are usually require fewer clicks but the posting is not as user friendly due to a staff family emergency.

Ruby Sinreich's picture

Application & appointment process vs. fast & experienced

Thanks for the info, Mia. (The link you shared goes to a PDF file which doesn't have a 4c for me.) But your description provides a lot of useful context for this decision. I can see why the Board would be considering appointing a former member which can be done more quickly than an application process and can put an experienced member on the board ASAP.  This is especially appealing given the heavy lifting needed for the Superintendent search process and the fast expiration date of this seat.Best of luck in getting a new member on board as smoothly as possible!

Mia Burroughs's picture


Not our finest moment in ease of finding documents but staff were rightfully taking care of family issues.  Thanks for hanging inthere and finding it!

James Barrett's picture


I have serious doubts about the benefits here versus the potential costs of selecting the wrong candidate.  I'd much rather they take a little time and think about this decision than rush to get it filled with someone whose sole quality is "done it before".  There are plenty of previous school board members I have a ton of disagreements with.  I suppose it depends on your perception of Dr. Pederson -- since previous board members hired him and kept him on for many years, my guess is many of them would hire someone similar for replacement. 

Agree with James

I also wouldn't like to see someone appointed for the sake of expediency. Hiring a new superintendent is an opportunity to really take a good hard look at the school system. Where are its weaknesses? Where are its strengths? What qualities does the new superintendent need to help improve those weaknesses without forfeiting the strengths? I'd like to see someone appointed that does not have a strong investment in the status quo.

Let me say first I don't

Let me say first I don't have a dog in this fight but I do agree with JCB's comments that a fresh face and voice is needed here. The upcoming new hire is an important time for the CH/Carr. system. To appoint a previous board member is a cop out and shows laziness on the part of the Board in my opinion.

Geoff Green's picture

Appointment process won't bring in fresh blood

Perhaps a "fresh face and voice" is needed, but if I'm recalling correctly, at least one if not two of the school board members elected last fall are new to the school board (Burroughs and Brownstein). How much is a newcomer going to add to the discussion, particularly since the superintendent search will be well underway by the time the appointment process reaches its end?Second, if fresh blood is needed, having the current school board members pick someone is not the way to go about it. Are they going to pick someone with radically different views from their own, or who thinks CHCCS needs to go in a new direction? In my previous town, for the most part there wasn't much competition for school board slots, so when school board members resigned, someone would be appointed by the existing board and they would win typically win because they were incumbents. Incumbency is a powerful advantage in any race for an elected position. If given the choice between a former school board member performing a caretaker role or someone with the goal of running for re-election on herown merits, I'd prefer the caretaker role. For a higher profile seat like town council, which residents do (in my view) pay attention to, the issue is not as critical. But for school board, where the difference in positions among the candidates may not be so distinct and the electorate is less informed and more inclined to simply vote for the incumbent for incumbency's sake, it's a real issue if we want to make sure that it's the people selecting school board members.

James Barrett's picture

The 2 new members last time

The 2 new members last time were Shell Brownstein and Joe Green (the one who just left).I worry that a prior school board member would not necessarily be a "caretaker"  -- there's nothing to keep them from running again, and I agree completely on the power of the  incumbency.   

Any candidate running for

Any candidate running for office is likely to have been involved in the elected body he/she is seeking. Would you vote for someone who had no experience with the elected body they are seeking?I am a supporter of term limits because I have sat in many meetings and listen to incumbents trash some idea that was discussed 4,5 or 10 years ago and if it didn't work out then why waste time now attitude. The situation changes and you need to be open minded and many of our elected (more than 2 terms) leaders are not. It would be nice to see Ch/Carr system to hire outside of the District but I don't see that happening by appointing a retread who is far less likely to step away from the status quo.

Great Choice

Jean is a great choice.  She will be ready to hit the ground running and has always been a thoughtful, analytical voice.I felt that appointing a former member was the only way to get an effective 7th viewpoint.  Every newbie on the school board has a hard time keeping up.  When there is such an information imbalance, the longer-term members have a larger influence. Also, appointing a former member was more democratic since she has won election and, therefore, earned incumbency advantage (if she chooses to run again).

Hamilton a Good Call

Although she is not a left-handed, South Asian, Sikh male who drives a Buick, plays the cello, and has Lyme Disease, I am thrilled to see Jean Hamilton serving on the Board again.  The critical months ahead are no time for a novice and she will be ready from Hour One.  We're lucky she has taken on this challenging task. Frank McBride