BOE Recall Discussed at Community Meeting - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

11/23/04

BOE Recall Discussed at Community Meeting

The effort to recall several Savannah-Chatham County Board of Education members is the hottest topic in education lately, and getting hotter. Organizers want to get the petitions out within a month.

A pair of political action committees say they want to see SuSu Cox, Daniel Frazier, Lori Brady and DeWayne Hamilton step down by Friday. If not, they intend to put it to a vote.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools never names names in its report, but Unity Political Action Committee and City Chatham Political Action Committee insist it's easy enough to tell exactly which board members the report is about.

"We believe we need four new school board members, along with those who are still there," said Rev. Leonard Small with Unity PAC at a meeting on the topic last night in Thunderbolt. "Everyone was not implicated or indicated in those reports, and therefore it would be wrong for us to ask everyone to be removed."

But some people at last night's meeting say it's impossible to know for sure who's responsible, and it would hurt the school district to act this quickly. "All we have to do is correct the wrong and call in the committee and have them certify that we have corrected the problems and boom, we're off," said Rev. Chester Ellis, a teacher. "Then we can do the recall. But you can't put the horse behind the cart."

Another thing to come out of the meeting was charges of strong-arming. Jackie Sommers with the City Chatham PAC presented a letter written to the BOE's attorney last year. It accuses DeWayne Hamilton of trying to use his position on the board to pressure Parent and Child Development Services, Inc., into using a specific curriculum.

"This was one of the things that went to SACS," Sommers.

We spoke with Hamilton on the phone. He said he never had the power or influence they're accusing him of having.

Also at last night's meeting, Daniel Frazier--one of the four BOE members being asked to step down--spoke at length about his involvement. He says he didn't do anything wrong, and the only information about him that went to the SACS committee was hearsay that was later corrected.

Reported by: Chris Cowperthwaite, ccowperthwaite@wtoc.com

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