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Teleconference call results in unanimous approvals by District 55 board

In a stark contrast to the recent in-person meetings, Wednesday May 3’s teleconference special meeting of the Laurens School District 55 Board of Trustees went off without a hitch and trustees unanimously passed the agenda and the move for executive session to discuss new hire contracts.

The meeting was held via teleconference at noon, and the four trustees which remain after a series of resignations spent only a few minutes in open session in order to conduct the business at hand. Back in open session they unanimously accepted the full list of new staffing recommendations from Superintendent Ameca Thomas.

Currently the board consists of Board Chair Cathy Little, and trustees Anthony Carpenter, Mike Hughes and Peggy Nance.

Two previous meetings a week apart had ended abruptly when the trustees failed to accept the agenda, leaving motions without a second, while numerous community members in the full conference room vocally complained throughout the short meeting. 

Wednesday’s meeting was set by teleconference in order to finally address the new hires because it’s a time-sensitive matter, Little said.

“We have conducted these teleconference calls in the past and the public has the ability to listen, but there is no public participation during a special called meeting at any time,” Board Chair Cathy Little said.

Trustee Anthony Carpenter had said Tuesday evening that he didn’t foresee any problems with the planned Wednesday meeting.

Trustees Neal Patterson and Todd Varner had resigned prior to the special called meeting on the evening of May 1.

A special election has been scheduled for Aug. 1 to fill the three open positions left by Patterson, Varner and Bubba Rawl, who had resigned earlier in April due to a job with the State Dept. of Education.

Until that time, however, the new issue of small numbers may make meetings tricky, Little explained.

 “With a 7 member board, a quorum is 4 members to conduct business,” Little said. “This is certainly not ideal; however, we must move forward.”

The agenda for Wednesday had not included a previous executive session item which Little explained had been requested by Thomas to discuss superintendent/board relations.

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