Vacancy on Alachua County School Board leaves board members in deadlock

Published: Jun. 22, 2021 at 11:32 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - After the Alachua County School Board’s vacant district 2 seat caused board members to butt heads for almost four hours, the school board still did not vote to approve or deny Superintendent Carlee Simon’s comprehensive job description proposal Tuesday night.

Diyonne McGraw is filing a lawsuit challenging her removal and her supporters greeted her at the door.

Related story: Diyonne McGraw files lawsuit challenging governor’s move to vacate her school board seat

While Diyonne McGraw was in attendance, she did not take her former seat today after Gov. Ron DeSantis declared her seat vacant and her supporters say DeSantis is taking away the voice of the voters.

“The people have spoken by three thousand votes and that’s being subverted and that’s just a power move for people who are used to privilege,” Sharon Burney said.

With the four remaining board members in a 2 to 2 deadlock and many public comments, the board struggled to come to a consensus on Simon’s proposed job description changes.

Related story: Teacher supports Alachua County superintendent reorganization plan

Board Chair Leanetta McNealy said it will lighten the load on employees.

“They are working themselves thin, that’s not fair,” McNealy said. “These job descriptions eliminate that.”

The plan will disperse job duties and create chief positions.

Board members Robert Hyatt and Gunnar Paulson want more time to discuss these roles.

“I haven’t read through every one because I didn’t want to do this,” Paulson said. “I wanted to do this strategic plan, develop it and then go through this process. I thought about employees just like I thought about employees when they got letters in the mail.”

With five weeks until the school year begins, McNealy expressed concerns.

“If this does not pass this evening, just think about the hole that we will be in.”

After several debates the members voted 3 to 1, Hyatt as the dissenting vote, to move forward with only 19 job descriptions at this time. The board will meet again Monday morning.

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