FLINT, MI – It has been more than 90 days since the Flint Board of Education Finance and Operations subcommittee last met.
The last meeting of the board’s Flint subcommittee on finance and operations was held on Monday, August 1, when then-Treasurer Laura MacIntyre chaired the meeting.
But after former trustee Danielle Green violated the terms of her bond, she showed up to a board meeting, gave a majority to the Green-Chris Del Morone-Carol McIntosh-Allen Gilbert voting bloc, and voted to impeach MacIntyre. and then President Joyce Ellis-McNeal. , those subcommittee meetings stopped.
After ousting MacIntyre and Ellis-McNeal, Green was forced to resign under the terms of her plea deal just days later on August 25.
Her board position as treasurer was vacated after the sudden reorganization which MacIntyre called a “coup.”
The Flint Board of Education bylaws say that the board must appoint a treasurer to perform their simple duties: chair the committee, care for district funds, report and approve receipts, and report other fiscal matters to the board.
However, when a treasurer is forced to resign and there is no immediate replacement, the board’s bylaws do not specify what happens.
The board could simply elect a new treasurer with a majority vote, but attempts to do so have been stifled by McIntosh, who insists that as board chair she can fill the vacancy herself, thus filling the positions. of president and treasurer.
It is a gray area for the Flint Board of Education simply because the statutes do not describe this circumstance. According to research by MLive-The Flint Journal, there is no explicit language in the board’s bylaws that allows or prevents McIntosh from “filling” the position as he has said on multiple occasions.
Not having a treasurer to lead finance subcommittee meetings materialized for the board this week when a surprise agenda item to demolish The oldest high school in Flint appeared.
It caught community members off guard, including some who live right across the street from the school, as this did not feel like a premeditated decision.
“The neighborhood association and residents most directly affected by this long-term demolition and redevelopment of the site have not been consulted,” Crapo Street resident Nic Custer said at an earlier meeting.
Until this time, the possibility of carrying out the demolition of the property had not been mentioned.
There was some talk about the possibility of building a new high school on the site, with the help of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, but no plans had been seen publicly or approved by the board.
Two board members, MacIntyre and Ellis-McNeal, have insisted in recent meetings that the board is operating illegally by not having a treasurer.
MacIntyre and Ellis-McNeal are often the two that Board Chairman McIntosh fights with the most during meetings.
The issue came up again at the October 12 meeting when board members began asking questions about why this topic came up in new business for the finance committee when there had been no previous subcommittee discussions.
Trustee Allen Gilbert, who often votes with McIntosh, asked “are we going to do anything about it?”
Del Morone, who sides with Gilbert and McIntosh, wasn’t worried about the issue as it “wasn’t on the agenda.”
McIntosh said he can handle it, though several other board members have called it an abuse of power.
“The statutes establish that in a situation of absence, the president can absolutely replace him,” he said.
The statement, however, is not entirely correct. The bylaws state that a position may be temporarily filled by the deputy secretary/treasurer “in the event of the death, incapacity, or refusal to act of the secretary or treasurer.”
When there is a vacancy, the statutes are clear: “the vacancy will be filled by a majority vote of all the other members of the Board who are in office”.
McIntosh has not allowed that vote to take place until Oct. 12.
When MacIntyre challenged him on the decision, McIntosh replied “shut up”. The discussion can be heard on the live stream of the meeting on YouTube.
During previous attempts to appoint a treasurer, McIntosh threatened a remove MacIntyre and Ellis-McNeal from the meetings for suggesting that he was operating against the statutes.
On October 12, MacIntyre was nominated for the position of treasurer and put up for a vote, but as there are only six board members, it ended up tied 3–3 and the vote failed. McIntosh, Del Morone and Gilbert voted against having a treasurer.
Once again, on October 26, McIntosh insisted that voting for treasurer would require five votes, even though only four are needed to appoint a treasurer. McIntosh argued that this is a reconsideration vote, which requires five votes.
There was a motion on the floor on October 26 to elect MacIntyre as treasurer, but McIntosh refused to call a vote because, in her opinion, “the motion is illegal.”
Board members voted to hold a special meeting to discuss financial matters on Tuesday, November 1, but the meeting was canceled due to not being properly advertised in advance.
Those subcommittee meetings are crucial to a well-managed board of directors. But since McIntosh took office, it has been difficult to get a quorum at meetings.
Superintendent Kevelin Jones said at the Oct. 12 meeting that he hoped to bring up the Central-Whittier demolition in a subcommittee, but since they can’t get the proper assistance, the only way he can hear the board’s pleasure is in a committee of the entire meeting.
However, when a committee appears on the entire meeting agenda, the community jumps into action. Television cameras, residents living near Central-Whittier and local activists showed up at the meeting to demand an explanation.
“It has been important for the last few years to close buildings, but we haven’t had this conversation. Then we get into the narratives that we’re not having conversations about what needs to be done because we’re interrupted by things going on here,” Jones said.
It went even further.
“We have to have a conversation. And the only place I can have conversations right now is right here,” Jones said. “So, I have to bring the conversation to this table.”
Earlier in the meeting, during an hour-long discussion of staffing recommendations, Jones said the constant delay of routine board approvals is crippling board business.
“I have to make everything like I have twelve buildings, because that’s what I have,” Jones said. “… To keep stopping things and not moving them forward, constantly paralyzes us.”
The board often looks closely at staffing recommendations to find places to cut to save money, but Jones explained that a true redistricting of the district is necessary to make meaningful cuts. Taking down an assistant principal here and a substitute teacher there won’t work.
The district has 42 teaching positions. It is now down to about 2,900 students while operating 12 buildings (11 with students). It is operating at a deficit and has nearly $100 million in COVID-19-related funds due to expire in 2024.
The Michigan Association of School Boards did not respond to a request for comment on the status of the Flint Board of Education with the treasurer position.
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