The Hickman Mills School District, which has gone through major transition in the last year, finally has a full board of trustees.
Alvin Brooks and Luther Chandler are filling seats left vacant when Byron Townsend and Darrell Curls resigned from the Hickman Mills School Board in April before their terms expired.
Brooks, 85 and a long-time Kansas City activist and civic leader, stepped away from his position on the Kansas City Police Commission to serve on the Hickman Mills board. His term on the commission was near expiration and he has said he did not believe he would be reappointed by Republican Gov. Eric Greitens.
Brooks has lived in the Hickman Mills school district — now provisionally accredited — for roughly 30 years. He told KCUR radio he took the Hickman Mills position to support the districts newly named superintendent.
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Brooks, a former Kansas City police detective, founded the city’s Ad-Hoc Group Against Crime and served several years on the Kansas City city council, including as the Mayor Pro Tem.
For Chandler, who is retired and has lived in the district 39 years, this would not be his first time sitting on the board. “He was a member between 2002-2008, including time as president and vice president,” according to a school district statement.
Asked why he wanted to serve on the board, Luther said, “I’m concerned about the community and always have been,” the statement said.
The two new appointments will last until the next school board election in April 2018, at which time both would have to be voted into those seats in order to stay on the board.
Movement of members on and off the board has been ongoing for nearly a year.
Curls, who had been a member of the Hickman Mills School Board for nine years, said when he resigned that he did so because the board was beset with turmoil and that there was too much leadership change.
He also said he was concerned that four of the district’s board members at the time had only six months or less of service.
Earlier this spring three other board members had been sworn in — Brian Williams, Wakisha Briggs and Clifford Ragan III.
Carol Graves, who is in her third year on the board, was voted as board president. Williams, a new board member, was chosen as vice president.
In September, the seven-member board split over a controversy that erupted when then board member Dan Osman moved out of the state to Kansas but wanted to remain on the board. He later resigned.
Then in October, an election fiasco surfaced over whether Evelyn Hildebrand, who had won a very close election to the board, could actually be sworn in since she owed thousands in property taxes.
The board instead swore in Shawn C. Kirkwood, who was the low vote-getter. The court later ruled that Hildebrand, who had won the election, deserved certification to the board. Hildebrand paid her tax bill. And rather than challenge the court order, Kirkwood resigned.
At the board’s Oct. 20 meeting Hildebrand was sworn in to take her seat. At the same meeting, the board appointed Wakisha Briggs to fill the unexpired term that had been left by Osman’s resignation.
In the midst of all the board upheaval, then superintendent Dennis Carpenter announced he was leaving the district to lead the Lee’s Summit School District.
Yolanda Cargile who had been the associate superintendent of the district was named the new superintendent in February.