Fireworks emerged as the city council voted not to keep Rebecca Combs-Dulaney on the Meridian Public-School District’s School Board. Rebecca Combs-Dulaney has been serving on the board temporarily for the past eight months, however, today the board voted not to keep her there.
“It’s nothing personal, it’s just business. I have a seventh grader and a ninth grader that attend Meridian Public-School District. We need people that really understand and can hear the conversations that the students are having. If they’re not connected to the students and what’s really happening every day within the district, then I don’t know how viable they can be to our district,” said Councilwoman Kim Houston who voted no. She thinks Dulaney has an impressive background but that in order to have a clear understanding of what’s happening in the classroom, that direct connection with students is needed.
Dulaney says Houston’s vote was personal.
“How could you not feel it’s personal? With my educational background, with all of my projects I’ve worked on to improve education—how could anybody interpret any other way than taking it personally?” said Dulaney.
Dulaney claims while having parents on the board is a great idea, that most of them simply would not have the time it takes to dedicate to it.
"They're struggling being parents. She (Houston) said that herself. Yet, she wants them to serve on a board, but, believe me, I have already put in forty hours in just the last few weeks."
Along with Councilwoman Houston, Councilman Weston Lindemann voted no as well. He believes with her ties to her husband’s business, Structural Steel, that it would be a conflict of interest.
“You have certain individuals who have privileged access to information that even council members don’t get. They have certain influence over the decision-making process here at city hall that even council members don’t have. Any other school board appointee, it wouldn’t have been a problem. However, when we give up so much of our decision-making ability to a few people who clearly have private interests in mind, but they won’t admit it, and that’s a problem,” said Lindemann.
Houston and Lindemann acknowledge what the Dulaneys have done for the community as a whole, but they stand by their vote. Dulaney says she will continue to give back to the community at any chance she gets and that she wants to make this a great city for everyone, no matter their background.
City Council President Tyrone Johnson is continuing to not vote on anything, making Dulaney’s vote 2-2.