At last night’s school board meeting, the board voted 7-2 in support of the first reading of Board Policy 4.804 – Religious Content of Courses. Beth Burgos and Candy Emerson voted against. Susan Curlee and PJ Mezera were absent. (Both also missed the work session Thursday.) The board will have a second reading of the policy at their next board meeting.
The Superintendent’s Evaluation stakeholder respondents will now be the WCSB, WCS Senior Staff (Central Office), and WCS Principals. WCS teachers, PTO leaders, parents and high school students will not participate in the evaluation survey. After a lengthy discussion with several failed and withdrawn amendments, the board approved the evaluation instrument 8-1 with Candy Emerson voting against.
At the beginning of the meeting, regular public commenter Audrey Buffington read an anonymous resolution seeking the censure of board members Gary Anderson, Bobby Hullett, Anne McGraw and Rick Wimberly. “This is a very unusual presentation this evening because I got a call in the middle of the afternoon asking if I were coming [to the meeting] and because of the timeliness of this [resolution], would I please read this resolution,” Buffington said. Buffington refused to say who wrote the resolution. The author took issue with local business and WCS parent PAC endorsements and stated that the four incumbents “should be censored [sic] for their involvement with these PACs and [Hullett, McGraw, Anderson, and Wimberly] need to return all monies received by these PACs [WillCo Rising PAC and the Williamson Business PAC] and sever the relationship they have with these PACs.”
The document included many social media screen shots, several from 2014. Anti-WCS activist Julie West had posted the same screen shots on her public Facebook page the night before. Susan Curlee also included the 2014 screen shots from Bobby Hullett in a complaint to the District Attorney in 2014.
Anne McGraw stated to the Williamson Herald after the meeting, “I haven’t had time to read the resolution yet. I don’t know that I put a lot of stock in anonymously written and delivered resolutions. If someone wants to come forward and discuss it with me, I’d be happy to do so.” Chair Gary Anderson noted that in his 26 years on the WCSB “I’ve never had someone come to the podium and read a resolution. When people speak at the podium, we do not address their questions right then so I don’t know what the ultimate intent was other than to have someone read [the resolution] into the record.” The resolution has no validity unless a board member brings it before the rest of the board for a vote. Also, Board Policy 5.501 prohibits the district from considering anonymous complaints according to WCS Communications Director Carol Birdsong.
Please note that in 2014, Leaders of Tennessee PAC (Kent Davis and Monty Lankford) gave $1500 to Dan Cash, $700 to Susan Curlee and $500 each to Beth Burgos and Candy Emerson. (Leaders of TN PAC also donated $1500 each to County Commissioners Barb Sturgeon and Matt Milligan, $1000 to former County Commissioner Travis Hawkins, and $500 to County Commissioner Kathy Danner.) [State Rep. Jeremy] Durham PAC was Susan Curlee’s largest donor at $1000. (Durham PAC also donated $500 to County Commissioner Matt Milligan.) Besides the unusual influx of cash from PACs in the 2014 WCSB elections, AFP (a national organization) sent an estimated $50,000 worth of glossy mailers on behalf of Burgos, Cash, Curlee and Emerson and took credit for their victories. AFP is a 501(c)(4) “social welfare” organization. Unlike PACs, 501(c)(4) organizations like AFP do not have to report their contributors.
For more information about Williamson Business PAC’s contributors, see the 4/21 Williamson Herald article about the group’s Q1 2016 financial disclosures.