JP vote fills slot on School Board

Air Force vet gets NLR seat

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - ARKANSAS - EMMA PET­TIT

A vet­eran with fi­nan­cial ex­per­tise was cho­sen for a va­cant North Lit­tle Rock School Board slot Tues­day at the urg­ing of two Pu­laski County Quo­rum Court mem­bers who rep­re­sent that school district zone.

The Quo­rum Court voted 10-5 to ap­prove Cindy Tem­ple for the Zone 5 seat at a special meet­ing. The district falls in the north­ern-cen­tral part of North Lit­tle Rock.

Tem­ple is the vice pres­i­dent of SP En­vi­ron­men­tal, a jan­i­to­rial com­pany, and her grand­son at­tends In­dian Hills El­e­men­tary, ac­cord­ing to her ap­pli­ca­tion.

She served in the Air Force from 1978 to 1982, then grad­u­ated in 1986 from the Univer­sity of Cen­tral Arkansas with an ac­count­ing de­gree, her re­sume says.

At Tues­day’s meet­ing, Quo­rum Court mem­bers saw a res­o­lu­tion with just Tem­ple’s name, though two oth­ers ap­plied for the post.

One ap­pli­cant, Adam Bur­ris, co-founder of a soft­ware com­pany for po­lit­i­cal fundrais­ing, had taken his name off the ta­ble, Jus­tice of the Peace Staci Med­lock said. The other can­di­date was Sheila Camp­bell, a pri­vate prac­tice at­tor­ney.

Med­lock said she and fel­low mem­ber Phil Stow­ers, whose two dis­tricts en­com­pass School Board Zone 5, both de­cided on Tem­ple.

“Of the two, one was ready, will­ing and able,” Med­lock said. Stow­ers pointed to Tem­ple’s busi­ness know-how and her mil­i­tary ser­vice, call­ing her “very qual­i­fied.”

Jus­tice of the Peace Kathy Lewi­son asked why the Quo­rum Court didn’t vet all peo­ple who ap­plied.

County Judge Barry Hyde said the vast ma­jor­ity of the school zone falls in Med­lock’s district.

“As a courtesy, you would re­spect your fel­low JP” and de­fer to her judg­ment, Hyde later added.

The same logic was ap­plied as in any de­ci­sion that af­fects just one or two dis­tricts of the county, Justin Blagg, di­rec­tor of Quo­rum Court ser­vices, said af­ter the meet­ing.

Quo­rum Court mem­ber Donna Massey ques­tioned Tem­ple, who was in at­ten­dance, about her stance on char­ter schools.

“I sup­port school choice,” Tem­ple said, be­fore adding she wants strong pub­lic schools so they are the ob­vi­ous choice for par­ents.

Jus­tices of the Peace Massey, Julie Black­wood, Lillie McMullen, Tyler Den­ton and Teresa Coney voted against Tem­ple’s ap­point­ment.

De­cid­ing a School Board ap­point­ment was un­usual for the Quo­rum Court, noted mem­ber Cur­tis Keith.

Tues­day’s vote arose from a bout of con­fu­sion af­ter a woman was cho­sen in mid-Oc­to­ber to fill the va­cancy, but the de­ci­sion was later re­scinded.

R. Han­nah Cham­bers, a pro­gram co­or­di­na­tor for the Lake­wood Prop­erty Own­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion, was unan­i­mously cho­sen to be­come the new Zone 5 board mem­ber.

Twelve-year board mem­ber Scott Teague re­signed from the post in Septem­ber.

The school district elects board mem­bers by elec­tion zones, with one mem­ber per zone to fill seven slots. Though cho­sen to rep­re­sent elec­tion Zone 5, Cham­bers lives in Zone 6.

North Lit­tle Rock district lead­ers were as­sured by the Arkansas School Boards As­so­ci­a­tion that an out-of-zone ap­pointee could legally serve on a tem­po­rary ba­sis. A lawyer with the or­ga­ni­za­tion later apol­o­gized for pro­vid­ing that in­ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion.

The School Board then sent the de­ci­sion to the Quo­rum Court.

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