Dirty tricks in the Hickman Mills school board race

04/07/2014 4:30 PM

04/07/2014 4:30 PM

The ugly, deceitful campaign mailings that arrived at the homes of voters in the Hickman Mills School District over the weekend are a sign of how desperate a certain faction is to disrupt the struggling district and exert a poisonous influence.

The illegal mailings, which violate state law by omitting information about who paid for their production, target three solid candidates. Incumbent board members Bonnaye Mims and Dan Osman and newcomer Karry Palmer are hard workers who want to see the district improve academically and administratively. They are running to serve families and their community, not for personal gain.

The same cannot be said for those who sent out the mailings. A faction connected with the Urban Summit of Kansas City and longtime meddler Clinton Adams has attempted to wield influence in the district. Its ability to do that depends on controlling the school board.

Breman Anderson Jr., a candidate with ties to Adams, wreaked havoc as board president and was frequently cited in a critical audit of the district. He is running for re-election on a crowded slate.

Hickman Mills is a provisionally accredited district that needs to avoid distractions and focus on improving academics and administrative operations. It has a quality superintendent in Dennis Carpenter, but he needs the backing of a supportive school board.

In a recent vote to extend Carpenter’s contract, Mims and Osman and two other board members voted in favor. Anderson and another board member abstained, and board member Darrell Curls, an ally of Anderson, voted no. That’s a precarious balance.

Voters who want to see the Hickman Mills School District make progress should ignore the vile campaign mailings and support Mims, Osman and Palmer for the three open seats in Tuesday’s election. Sandy Sexton is also a quality candidate.

The allegations in the mailings are distortions and outright falsehoods, nothing less than character assassination. They reflect a strenuous effort to violate the privacy of the candidates and pry into over corner of their lives.

As a rule of thumb, it’s best to remember that a group that won’t reveal its identify almost certainly is up to no good.

(This post has been changed to reflect that persons attempting to wield influence in the Hickman Mills School District are connected with the Urban Summit of Greater Kansas City, not Freedom Inc. Although there is overlap in membership between the two groups, the interference in Hickman Mills is reportedly coordinated more closely with the Urban Summit, of which Clinton Adams is chair of the education committee.)

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