Thursday, January 5, 2012

Stinson-Wesley is surprise D6 choice

The CMS board has chosen the Rev. Amelia Stinson-Wesley, a Pineville minister and nonprofit director, to fill the District 6. She was one of two Democrats who applied. See the discussion below:

4:40  Ericka Ellis-Stewart says she's heard that D6 is conservative, Republican, white district. "Based on the numbers, that is true."  But we have four localities -- Charlotte, Pineville, Mint Hill and Matthews -- and "it's not just a one size fits all."  She says it's about who puts needs of children first. "I would like to support Dr. Rembert ... at the same time, we have individuals like Rev. Stinson who have worked in the community."  That's a majority for Amelia Stinson-Wesley. She gets five formal votes.

4:38  Eric Davis says "we lack significant analytical skills" on the board. Also wants to honor district approach. He had three finalists -- Bolyn McClung, who withdrew; Wilhelmenia Rembert, whom he admires; David Knoble, who is his choice. Considered Stinson-Wesley but doesn't think she matched Knoble.

4:35 Richard McElrath says he gave star ratings as he reviewed applications. "I ended up with four stars by one name, and that name was Amelia Stinson-Wesley." Said he'd like to see a Latino member but "there's going to be time for those other issues."

4:30  Tim Morgan says David Knoble interviewed principals, teachers and families about needs of D6. He says only four of 12 applicants bothered to call Morgan beforehand, and Stinson-Wesley wasn't among them. Morgan calls her "very nice, very well spoken, but folks, I don't know where she really stands on D6 issues. She has not run this campaign like an election, which I think is necessary." Morgan defends Knoble's interest in privatization of some CMS services.

4:27 Mary McCray, who lives in D6, says Stinson-Wesley shows calm passion and is best choice.

4:25  Joyce Waddell: Stinson-Wesley showed good knowledge of issues, passion for education and passion for District 6.

4:25  Tom Tate says he was surprised on reviewing notes to realize he preferred Amelia Stinson-Wesley. Says she showed good mix of concern for D6 and whole district and "said she wanted to see our students soar."

4:20: Rhonda Lennon says it's not about who she likes, it's about what voters of District 6 want. Says south suburbs have been "woefully neglected" in school construction. She supports David Knoble.

4:20 p.m.  Process is generating debate. Davis, Tom Tate and Rhonda Lennon it's important to explain thought process. Approved unanimously -- and Ellis-Stewart immediately calls for a vote. Davis breaks in and says his motion was to explain before voting. They're starting.

4:10 p.m. Tom Tate nomintes the Rev. Amelia Stinson-Wesley, a Democrat. Tim Morgan nominates David Knoble. Stinson-Wesley appears to be the compromise, after suburban opposition to Wilhelmenia Rembert.

Eric Davis asks that each member speak about the choice. Richard McElrath objects to the idea of compelling anyone to explain a vote.

4:05 p.m  Bolyn McClung withdraws from consideration because he has made donations to current Chair Ericka Ellis-Stewart, former Chair Eric Davis and Tim Morgan. Ellis-Stewart notes that the question has been raised about whether it's a conflict to vote for a donor, and says "I will say that for me personally, that does not represent that our votes can be bought."

Morgan praises McClung for withdrawing to protect public trust, and says "a cloud of impropriety" will hang over the process if board members vote for donors. Wilhelmenia Rembert, viewed as a leading contender, gave to Ellis-Stewart.

3:55 p.m.  Negotiations are going on up to the last minute. Board members Tom Tate, Eric Davis and Rhonda Lennon have emerged, while the others are still, in Lennon's words, "huddling."  They can't legally hold a closed meeting to discuss a school board appointment, but they can confer in small groups in back rooms and halls. Tate says he doesn't anticipate a unanimous vote.

The room in the Government Center is starting to fill with applicants and a few observers.

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