Hickman Mills school board stages a coup and ousts its president

A shifting majority in the Hickman Mills school board rose up against its president Thursday night.

Breman Anderson Jr. was ousted in a 4-3 vote to reorganize the board, and Eric Lowe was installed as the new leader.

The coup came in the first meeting after Anderson had led a tense special meeting in which the board fired its legal counsel and Anderson unsuccessfully tried to censure member Bonnaye Mims.

Many staff and patrons in the south Kansas City district had been alarmed when Anderson repeatedly cut off and rebuked speakers.

He had also come under criticism for having an office in the administration building and for poor attendance at national conference workshops.

Lowe, Mims and board member Dan Osman had already aligned against Anderson. Newly elected member Shawn Kirkwood, who previously sided with Anderson, cast the deciding fourth vote to reorganize.

Many people in an overflowing crowd gasped and applauded when Kirkwood’s switch became apparent.

The reorganization came after an initial fight over the agenda. Anderson had refused a request by members to put reorganization on the agenda, so the members posted an alternate agenda.

Some board members questioned whether proper procedures were followed, and the board’s attorney acknowledged that conflicting interpretations could leave Thursday night’s actions open to challenge.

Once installed as president, Lowe said he would not need an office in the building. The board also voted to bring back the attorney who had been fired.