Council Decides on At-Large School Board Elections

There were fireworks at last night’s City Council meeting on the matter of whether the elected school board should be based on wards or at large. Republican Rob Schilling claimed that only a ward-based system would provide racial diversity, which led to a strong rebuttal from Democrat Kendra Hamilton, the only member of council that is neither white nor male. John Yellig described the exchange in the Progress:

“I have allowed members of the public and a certain member of council to distort and misrepresent all sorts of things – the history of desegregation, my politics, my actions, my words,” she said. “But enough is enough. It’s time to set the record straight.”

Referencing an e-mail Schilling sent to some voters Monday, Hamilton ridiculed his assertion that he’s “the only councilor who cares about the African-American community.”

“I never thought that I, as a black woman, would be reduced to explaining to a bunch of white people…that I know what I’m talking about,” she said.

Schilling angrily responded to Hamilton’s comments, saying, “I’m not going to let that stand,” and, over calls for order from Mayor David Brown, added, “I’m going to stand by every word I wrote in the e-mail today.”

So…who’s gonna provide a copy of that e-mail?

Anyhow, Council voted not to petition the General Assembly to permit the city to have ward-based elections, so at least the first elections, this May, will be at large.

7:15pm Update: God bless Sean Tubbs. He’s posted the relevant portion of the audio from last night’s Council meeting. You can hear Schilling for the first 13:50, and then Hamilton for the rest of the clip.

8:55pm Update: Somebody has posted what is said to be Schilling’s e-mail.

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