PEORIA -- The longest serving member of the Peoria District 150 School Board, Martha Ross, was passed over as the board elected new officers, in favor of a young lawyer Chris Crawford. The board met at noon on July 2.
Crawford won with a 4-2 vote. Rick Cloyd, another relative newcomer, was elected vice president.
Crawford has rarely spoken during meetings.
The public comments included criticism from activist Terry Knapp and Peoria Federation of Teachers president Bob Darling.
Here is a recording of the comments.
Both urged the election of Ross as president of the board.
"Ross has the credentials and is the senior member. She should not be overlooked," Knapp said.
He then criticised the hiring of a Chicago law firm as the board's attorneys, saying there's no continuity, and they're too expensive. The board could save money by hiring a local firm or even its own lawyer, he said.
Darling said he has clashed recently with former board president Linda Butler, but "life's too long to hold grudges. We are all family."
He said the superintendent's raise should be complemented with a raise for teachers. "A month ago we sent a message to the board that we have concerns with the administration, then Lathan gets a three year contract. (That) tells us you didn't believe us. What you are doing is not school reform. Top down doesn't work. It will not change if you don't have a buy in for everyone."
-- Elaine Hopkins