HARVEY | The Thornton Township High School District 205 board of education was unable to hold a meeting Wednesday due to a lack of quorum, marking the second consecutive month the board was unable to conduct business.
Last month, the board – that is split into two factions of three members each – could not conduct business because three members supportive of former School Board President Kenneth Williams did not show up. The absences were in protest of an effort by the South Cook Intermediate Service Center to appoint a seventh board member who would have shifted control of the School Board away from them.
On Wednesday, the board was unable to gain a quorum because the three School Board members opposed to Williams did not show up.
School Board Vice President Darren Robinson waited about 15 minutes before declaring no meeting could be held because only himself and board members Toni Williams and Judith Gibbs were present.
Board members Edward Crayton, Bernadette Lawrence and Lauren Green were absent, although Crayton’s wife, Felita, attended the meeting. It was she who kept singing the lyrics to "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand), the 1970 song performed initially by Diana Ross, over and over while officials contemplated what to do.
Not that Felita Crayton would answer questions about what happened to the missing board members Wednesday night.
“I don’t know where they are,” she said.
For her part, Toni Williams said the lack of a quorum surprised her, saying she thought the board would conduct its first meeting since Dec. 11.
“It was a light agenda, there wasn’t anything controversial on it,” she said. “I thought we’d be able to work together.”
The current split in the board was created in October when a Cook County judge ordered Kenneth Williams removed because of his 1985 felony conviction in Indiana for aiding a forgery.
The board was unable to pick a replacement, and Williams’ supporters on the board have a legal challenge in Cook County Circuit Court to prevent anyone from picking a replacement School Board member.
They hope to hold the seat vacant until a case in the Illinois Court of Appeals in Chicago in which Kenneth Williams is challenging his removal from the School Board can be resolved.
Andrew Finko, an attorney representing Williams in that appeal, said the case is delayed because the Cook County Court Clerk’s office has not transferred all the paperwork from the case that removed Williams from the board.
School district spokesman Glenn Harston said some business is being conducted because the board gave acting Superintendent Stacey McJunkins the authority to pay emergency expenses without prior school board approval.
The outcome left a group of some 40 spectators, many of whom were faculty and staff at the high school district, unsure of what would happen. Not that any were willing to comment publicly.
“I have a job that I’d like to keep,” one teacher said.