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Gov. DeSantis declares Diyonne McGraw’s District 2 seat vacant, allowing him to fill the void on the Alachua County School Board

Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 12:05 AM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Four members remain on the Alachua County School Board after Gov. Ron DeSantis declared Diyonne McGraw’s District 2 seat vacant on Thursday evening. Gov. DeSantis signed the executive order after McGraw’s former opponent Khanh-Lien Banko and other plaintiffs in legal action against McGraw called on him to intervene. He will appoint a replacement to fill the void on the school board.

McGraw hasn’t made any public statements in regards to how she feels about this situation. When we tried to ask her in person on Thursday, she said she had no comment.

Executive Order by Dylan Lyons on Scribd

Alachua County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Carlee Simon also said she had no comment, but she did admit there is a vacant seat on the school board.

“I don’t know what I have right now. I have a vacated seat, so we will see how it all goes,” explained Simon.

Dr. Leanetta McNealy, the Alachua County School Board Chair, said Gov. DeSantis took action that some people were hoping for.

“It looks like the governor is going to stand by a lot of requests that people who wanted to see this undone. Well, now it’s been it is undone,” explained McNealy.

RELATED STORY: Gov. DeSantis declares vacant seat on Alachua County School Board following concerns about Diyonne McGraw’s residency

However, she believes this issue is far from resolved.

“I can tell you that there will be appeals, and appeals, and appeals,” said McNealy.

BREAKING NEWS: Governor Ron DeSantis has declared the District 2 seat on the Alachua County School Board vacant. Below...

Posted by Dylan Lyons WCJB TV 20 News on Thursday, June 17, 2021

The chairwoman said this wouldn’t stop the board from working.

“You can see it as a distraction,” explained McNealy. “But it certainly not going to stop the work that we have to focus on for the students of Alachua County.”

In the executive order, Gov. DeSantis said,” a vacancy exists on the Alachua County School Board, District 2, which I shall fill in compliance with the law.”

RELATED STORY: Khanh-Lien Banko urges Gov. DeSantis to declare a vacancy on the Alachua County School Board, allowing him to fill the void

As for the votes McGraw made on the board that were swing votes, Jeff Childers, the attorney for the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the former school board member, said it isn’t clear if they will be overturned or remain in place.

“It seemed very clear that the court was leaving open the possibility of reviewing those votes. I think it is probably likely that we are going to be looking back to see what Ms. McGraw was voting on where she was a swing vote and deciding which of those votes it would be worthwhile to challenge,” explained Childers.

At the time of publishing, TV20 has not received any response or statement from McGraw or her attorney.

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