Tuesday, May 21, 2024

114 West Elm Street
Graham, NC 27253
Ph: 336.228.7851

Not a good finale to Patsy’s service


Well, it was just a couple of weeks ago when we expressed admiration on this page for school board member Patsy Simpson for her service over the past 15 years.

We did note, however, an Achilles heel in her approach, and it was on full display this week.  We said then, “Simpson is a Democrat on the ostensibly non-partisan school board, which has also given her, perhaps, an excuse to challenge (even ridicule) Republicans who have dominated the county’s board of commissioners during her term, even when she didn’t have a particularly well-reasoned rationale for her hyperbole.”

This week, those aspects of unnecessary ridicule, hyperbole, and faulty reasoning were on full display in her sparring with county commissioner Bill Lashley.

It’s one thing to disagree.

- Advertisement -

It’s quite another to do so in such a rude, obnoxious, and condescending way as Simpson decided to employ at this week’s meeting.

County commissioners don’t have to attend school board meetings.  But commissioners Bill Lashley and Craig Turner  have been conscientious to do so.

They are able to report, knowledgeably rather than second-hand, about the school board’s and school administration’s policies and rationale to their colleagues during their own county commissioner meetings.

This week, Lashley sought recognition from the chairman to add some clarification and context to comments that Sandy Ellington-Graves had made (to which Simpson took exception) about the commissioners’ allocation of capital funding for the school system.  [See greater detail in a front page story in this week’s edition.]

Instead, Simpson flew off the handle, and literally tried to get the policeman providing security for the meeting to haul Lashley out of the meeting room.

An exasperated school board chairman Ellington-Graves repeatedly banged the gavel, trying to restore some semblance of order, but Simpson would have none of it, continuing to rail at Lashley – even after her colleagues had unanimously said he could, and should, speak to provide some insight on the commissioners’ thinking.

Even as the board adjourned into a closed session in the adjacent room, Simpson continued jawing at Lashley.

Ironically, Simpson’s tirade at Lashley was largely prompted by Ellington-Graves’ use of the word “give” to describe commissioner action designating funds last fall for the school system. [See separate editorial elsewhere.]

Whichever synonym for give she may have chosen – spend,  allocate, appropriate, designate, or a host of other choices – Ellington-Graves was correct in summarizing that the boards of commissioners in all North Carolina counties is the elected body that makes decisions on spending levels for school systems.

No, Ms. Simpson, the school system is not entitled to funds separate and apart from those approved by the commissioners.

It’s one of the reasons that school board members, other than Simpson, have attempted to improve their relations and communications with county commissioners in recent years.  That effort certainly took a hit Monday night.

Her petulant behavior this week was a stain on her record, and we hate to see her closing months of service marked by such an irrational ill temper.

Must Read

One more title before Cummings’ Paylor sprints away to collegiate football

By Bob Sutton Special to The Alamance News A day of agitation, speed, and reflection came for Jonathan Paylor of Cummings in the Class 2-A track...