Embattled school board member Rasheed Abdul-Haqq said he is stepping down following a judge's decision against his challenge of a new law excluding individuals with criminal records from serving on school boards. According to the board's agenda for Tuesday, Dec. 20, a replacement may be named that night for his seat.
Abdul-Haqq's offense took place in 1968 and he has since become a community activist and advocate for education. He previously served on the board and his current term expires in 2013.
Local dailies have covered Abdul-Haqq's case extensively. For the moment, Plaintalker is looking at ramifications for the 2012 election. If a replacement is appointed directly by the board, it will be the second time for use of this option. After Patricia Barksdale resigned earlier this year, the board chose former member Keisha Edwards to serve until the 2012 school board election. In the past, the appointive process was opened up to the public.
The current board has a super-majority of "Grand S.L.A.M." members. In 2010, Renata Hernandez, Wilma Campbell and Abdul-Haqq won three-year terms and Keisha Edwards won a one-year unexpired term. Edwards did not seek a full three-year term in 2010, but was selected by the board in July to fill the vacancy created by Barksdale's resignation.
In 2011, Alex Edache, Jameel Surgeon and Dorian Hurtt ran as Grand S.L.A.M. candidates and won three-year terms. giving their team six of nine board seats. The appointment of Edwards made seven. More than likely, the count will stay at seven for the Grand S.L.A.M. team when the board names a replacement for Abdul-Haqq.
So what's the point? For 2012, there will be three three-year terms up for election plus an unexpired term. Given that the board has chosen to appoint people directly to unexpired terms, running in the April school board election is the only chance residents at large have to serve on the board. So ... if this is something you want to do, mark your new 2012 calendar now with the Feb. 27 filing deadline and spend the beginning of the New Year getting your campaign together for the April 17 election.
Incumbents whose terms expire in 2012 are Lisa Logan Leach and Brenda Gilbert and Edwards as Barksdale's replacement. A replacement for Abdul-Haqq would have to run for his unexpired term in April. Obviously, the Grand S.L.A.M. team can field another slate for the three seats and one unexpired term, and if successful, would then hold all nine seats. Ultimately it's up to the voters, but it would be nice to see a little competition on the ballot.