Grand S.L.A.M. Team Wins BOE Election
The Grand “S.L.A.M.” team, or School Leadership Advocacy Movement, came in with four-digit numbers, while two other slates and two independents garnered only three-digit totals.
Unofficial results Tuesday put incumbent Wilma Campbell at the top with 1,455 votes, followed by former board member Rasheed Abdul-Haqq with 1,068 and parent group activist Renata Hernandez at 1,025 for three three-year terms. Former district teacher Keisha Edwards won 1,057 votes for an unexpired one-year term.
Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi will release certified results next week.
The Grand S.L.A.M. team ran a vigorous campaign, with door knocking, several campaign events, T-shirts and other paraphernalia and a blog.
“I think that we just made history,” Hernandez said, in that an entire slate won.
Hernandez said the slate thanked all of their supporters and added, “We hope to have their continued support as we work to move the district forward.”
As for other slates, the “Change Our Schools, Change Our City” slate candidates’ unofficial totals for three-year terms were 762 for Mahogany Hendricks, 639 for Danielle Fletcher and 590 for Jaclynne Callands, who sought three-year terms. Running mate Clayton Tucker Sr. received 677 votes for the one-year seat.
The Coalition for Better Schools slate received 650 votes for incumbent Martin Cox, 626 for Mary Burgwinkle, 584 for incumbent Christian Estevez, all for three-year terms,
and 441 for Carmencita Pile for a one-year term.
Of the two independent campaigners, Catherine Crittendon won 347 votes and Denise Riley won 186.
Voters rejected the budget, 942 to 1027, according to City Clerk Laddie Wyatt. However, under terms of the School Funding Reform Act of 2008, the district is mandated to accept annual increases until it reaches 33 percent. (Please see clarification in post above.)
The turnout was about 12 percent, according to Wyatt’s staff.
To make his choices among the many candidates, resident George Smith said, “I was thinking two things, vote for the right person and make sure that the one that I vote for is for real.”
Another voter who declined to be named said he included local blogs in gathering information about the candidates. He said his primary interest in choosing candidates was “changing the current situation with the superintendent” and selecting “people who were going to commit time and energy to turning round the schools here.”
The district has been rocked by a state report that found Schools Superintendents Steve Gallon III recommended hiring former Florida colleagues when they were not qualified for the administrative posts they sought. The state Department of Fiscal Accountability and Compliance called for a “Corrective Action Plan” which was adopted last week.