PLEASANTVILLE — With only one more meeting left before his term expires, Hassan Callaway was voted off the local school board Tuesday by his fellow members.
Callaway did not attend Tuesday’s regular meeting despite being notified by the district that his seat would be voted on due to at least three consecutive absences from board meetings.
Board member Jerome Page made the motion to remove Callaway, and the motion passed with members Page, Sharnell Morgan, Cassandra Clements, Richard Norris and Vice President James Barclay voting in favor. Board members Bernice Couch and Anny Melo voted against the motion, and board President Carla Thomas arrived late to the meeting and missed the vote.
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Callaway’s term expires at the end of the year. He did not run for reelection.
Page has made several attempts to remove Callaway for missing meetings. Callaway most recently had missed three consecutive board meetings, two in September and one in October. He missed about half of the 30 scheduled meetings between his swearing in in February 2018 and July 2019, board minutes show.
Board policy states that a “member who fails to attend three consecutive regular meetings of the Board without good cause may be removed from office on the affirmative votes of a majority of the remaining Board members,” so long as the member’s removal was proposed at the immediately previous meeting and notice was given at least 72 hours in advance.
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At its October meeting, the board voted to give notice to Callaway, despite Thomas saying he had planned to submit a letter of resignation. School Business Administrator Elisha Thompkins said Tuesday the letter of resignation was never received.
On Tuesday, Page asked Barclay to consider a motion to remove Callaway because it did not appear on the November agenda. Board attorney James Carroll suggested waiting to vote because he was not sure whether Callaway had received the proper notice.
“As board secretary, I sent him a letter explaining to him that he had to appear,” Thompkins said. “He is not here.”
Carroll requested he be included on letters like this in the future.
“I’m getting no communication from the administration. You would have saved yourself a lot of trouble,” Carroll said.
Some board members suggested attempting to fill Callaway’s seat before it expires at the end of the year, but Carroll said it would not likely be possible to complete the process, including necessary background checks, before the end of the year. The board meets once in December.
New board members will be sworn in at the reorganization meeting in January.