Efforts to recall two sitting members of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education have ended, parents behind the campaign announced at Thursday night’s board meeting.
Ron DeFelice, an organizer behind the recall campaign, said he was encouraged by new board leadership and wanted to give board members the opportunity to reestablish public trust.
The past several months have been turbulent for the Board of Education.
On February 28, parents filed an affidavit to recall James Barrett and Pat Heinrich, according to county officials. Barrett and Heinrich were accused of unethical board actions surrounding the board’s vote last September to transition Glenwood Elementary School to a Mandarin Dual Language magnet program.
Margaret Samuels, chair of the board at the time, was also a target of the recall campaign. She stepped down following the affidavit’s announcement.
In her resignation letter, Samuels wrote, “I have no desire to be a part of anything that takes the focus away from our students. When the behavior of adults is the leading story in any school district—we know we have a problem.”
Board members unanimously chose Joal Broun to replace Samuels as chair on March 7.
Organizers behind the recall campaign announced its suspension during the public comment portion of Thursday’s board meeting, but not all speakers were in support of the recall efforts.
Kristie Mather said she was glad to see the campaign suspended, saying it had caused “deep damage” to the community. She called on the campaign’s supporters to take down the group’s website and Facebook groups immediately.
Recall organizer Riza Jenkins Redd said she was proud of their efforts to promote transparency on the board, and that they would continue to oppose “opaque” board decision-making.
Board members also discussed the process behind filling the vacant board seat left by Samuels resignation. Approving that process will have to wait till early April when all board members will be available. James Barrett and Pat Heinrich were absent from the meeting.
The board tentatively set out a schedule for appointing a new member. Choosing a past member will greatly expedite the process, board members said. A full application process for a new member might mean the board seat remains vacant until June.