Parents demand swift action

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

About 100 people, mostly parents, gathered at City Hall on Wednesday to demand the Selma City Council appoint at least two new members to the city school board.

What became a parent’s rally initially began as a specially called meeting by Council members Johnnie Leashore and Samuel Randolph, but a quorum failed to show up. Only Leashore of Ward 6, Randolph of Ward 5 and Jannie M. Venter of Ward 8 showed up for the meeting.

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Leashore maintained the council is violating state law because it has not appointed school board members to fill three vacancies, two of which have been there for more than a year. The school board consists of eight members now. It should have 11.

The debate over filling those vacancies reached a fever pitch Monday night after the Selma City School Board reached a 4-4 tie between two candidates for superintendent. But it wasn’t Leashore who sounded a clarion for action; parents did.

Tammy Maul urged those attending the meeting to send council President George Evans letters demanding he call a special meeting before Dec. 18 to take action on the vacancies. She accused the city council of playing political games with issues that come before it.

“When you start playing politics with kids, you’ve gone too far,” she said.

Maul said if the two new school board members were appointed before a superintendent is chosen, the finalists could come back for another interview. She said most people have watched the process and are familiar with most of the candidates. “You won’t find too many people who haven’t listened to the qualifications of the candidates,” she said.

Henry Hicks Sr., the PTO president at Edgewood School and the city’s public works director, joined in the call for filling the vacancies, as did Sherri James, of the Alabama Democratic Conference and director of the city’s Community Outreach department.

“You need to know we’re coming,” James said to the crowd, promising the city council it would be held accountable for their action or inaction.

Evans couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday night after the meeting.

To see some of the comments made Wednesday night go to and click on “Good Day Selma.”