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Thirty vie for school board posts

(Published September 11, 2000)


Staff Writer

Thirty candidates have qualified for the Nov. 7 general election ballot to seek the five elected positions created on the newly constituted D.C. Board of Education.

And while the race to become the first school board president elected by voters citywide has the fewest candidates – three – that contest is expected to be hotly contested.

Facing off will be the Rev. Robert G. Childs, president of the current 11-member elected school board that voters recently chose to replace with a partially appointed board; Lawrence A. Gray, legislative chairman for the D.C. Congress of Parent and Teacher Associations who led the unsuccessful fight to retain an all-elected school board; and local arts benefactor Peggy Cooper Cafritz, a recent mayoral appointee to the University of the District of Columbia board who is widely understood to be the mayor’s choice for the job.

Voters will elect school board representatives this fall from four new "districts," replacing the previous ward representation. Each of the four districts combines the geographic boundaries of two city wards. District One combines Wards 1 and 2, District Two combines Wards 3 and 4, District Three combines Wards 5 and 6, and District Four combines Wards 7 and 8.

The District One race is the only one in which no incumbent school board member will be seeking election. Ward 1 representative Wilma Harvey and Ward 2 representative Westy Byrd both have chosen not to seek re-election as school board members.

Eight candidates are vying for the District One position: Lenwood Johnson, Harvey C. Jones, Malcolm Lovell, Glenn J. Melcher, Julie Mikuta, Thomas E. Smith, Linda E. Softli and Ann C. Wilcox.

In District Two, current Ward 3 school board member Don Reeves and Ward 4 board member Dwight E. Singleton will challenge each other and face five other hopefuls for the new position Those five others are Hugh Allen, Tommy Duren, Martin Levine, John Foy Lord and Ivory C. Roberts.

Three current school board members are among the eight candidates seeking election to the District Three position: at-large representative Gail Dixon, Ward 5 member Angie King Corley and Ward 6 member Benjamin W. Bonham Jr. Also on the ballot in District Three will be Sunday Abraham, William B. Boston, Kathy Henderson, Lois Tett and Tommy Wells.

Current school board vice president William Lockridge, who represents Ward 8, is seeking election to the District Four position. Current Ward 7 school board member Tom Kelly has chosen not to run, as has at-large board member Tonya Kinlow, who lives in Ward 8 and would therefore be eligible to run for the District Four seat. Lockridge will be challenged by Shoshua Robinson, Cardell W. Shelton and Arthur Wharton III.

Voters approved a new configuration for the D.C. Board of Education by a slim margin at a special election on June 27. The new board, which takes control of D.C. Public Schools in January, will include the five members elected by voters Nov. 7 and four members yet to be appointed by Mayor Anthony A. Williams and confirmed by D.C. City Council.

The presidentially appointed financial control board, which seized control of the public schools the day after the November 1996 school board elections, has said it intends to return complete authority over the schools to the newly constituted Board of Education on Jan. 2, 2001.

Copyright © 2001 The Common Denominator