Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Fayette School Board Could Have No Minority Member

It's a safe guess that in the Fayette County school board race, the bulk of the African American vote in the 2nd District was split between ousted incumbent Kirk Tinsley and rival Thomas Duncan. As a result, FCPS could lose black representation on the board.

This from H-L:

Baring a possible state appointment to fill an empty seat, Tuesday's general election results could leave the Fayette County Board of Education without black representation for the first time in 15 years.

Incumbent Kirk Tinsley, the board's only black member, ran third in the District 2 board race on Tuesday and will be replaced by the election winner, newcomer Douglas Barnett, who is white.

As things stand now, Tinsley's departure at the end of the year would leave the school board without a black member for the first time since 1995, when Jerry Devine joined the panel after defeating longtime incumbent Barth Pemberton.
But then, there was this statement:

Minority leaders are pinning their hopes on the fact that state Education Commissioner Terry Holliday soon must appoint a black to replace former chairwoman Becky Sagan, who resigned in late September after deciding to move out of District 5, which she had represented.

That's a mistake, right? Isn't "the problem" that there is no assurance. KSN&C alerted Jim Warren and inquired of KDE as to the demographics of the applicants.

Two applications have been picked up so far, but it is unclear who picked them up or if those persons have applied.

Warren reported that black leaders are busy trying to line up someone from the black community to apply.

Effective African American representation on the board is important and benefits everyone. My hope is that the Commissioner appoints a strong African American board member who will ask tough questions. One of those questions ought to be about the causes for a reduction in black faculty members in Fayette County in recent years.


Anonymous said...

The unspoken implication seems to this post seems to be that Mr. Tinsley should have won the seat by virtue of the fact that he is African American. If the votes don't work out that way, what are we to do?

I'll never forget being told by my principal that we needed an African American member on the school's advisory council. We had two African American faculty members at the time and neither wanted to run. When I spoke to my black colleague about his possible candidacy, his words to me were "I don't want to run, and I resent a white principal who has never spoken up on the race issue before, suddenly deciding we need a black man on the council."

Oh, the spectre of race! Why aren't you lamenting the fact the FCPS school board does not have a Latino, Latina member? Do this minority group not deserve represenation too? Why is diversity in Fayette County schools always gramed as a black/white issue?

Anonymous said...

Richard, as an African American myself, I have to take issue with the thinking that we need a Black member on the Board. A black board member was appointed by the commissioner with the last vacancy--Kirk Tinsley. Can anyone name a single thing he did or said that was beneficial to the "Black Community?" Didn't he vote to get rid of a Black General Counsel and a Black Civil Rights Officer? Wasn't it a White person, Ferguson who advocated for the need to keep these people and positions? The voters have spoken and chosen Barnett (an attorney) to be their representative and sent a clear message to the Commissioner through the polls that they rejected his pick-Tinsley and simply want quality representation in whatever color God made him/her.

Anonymous said...

Effective Hispanic represenation on the Board is important and benefits everyone.

Richard Day said...

Good point.

Richard Day said...

Also, as of this morning, KDE confirms that no applications have been received.

Richard Day said...

November 3, 2010 8:55 PM:
Hummm. I meant to imply that "the African American vote" in the district was split. Folks who may have been inclined to vote for a black candidate had to choose and that process separates. There's nothing to do. The voters get to choose.

We had a similar experience at Cassidy with black faculty not wanting to serve on Council. It's not everyone's cup of tea.

You are correct that valuing diversity is not only a black/white issue.

November 4, 2010 12:16 AM: Good points. Being on the board simply because one is black is insufficient. We need effective members first and foremost. But one hopes that board would reflect the community - to the extent that's possible.

Anonymous said...

I am a gay parent in the school system. I would like to have a lesbian or gay member on the school board. Who is looking out for me?