Huntsville school board to discuss censure of board member on Tuesday

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Tuesday, the Huntsville City Schools Board of Education is expected to delve into the decision of whether or not to censure one of its own.

Two weeks ago, we told you about the board's president, Elisa Ferrell's, request to censure board member Pam Hill. Ferrell cites concerns about Hill's conduct that she says extend beyond the role of a board member and says the school system's accreditation may hang in the balance.

You can read more about her accusations by clicking here.

The school system has scheduled a special called meeting to discuss the censure issue. We expect Ferrell to call for a vote to continue with the censure process against Hill. It is unclear how much support she has from the other board members, but she only needs a majority vote to move forward.

Monday, at a meeting in Hill's district to talk about test scores and the school system's plan for improvement, hosted by Superintendent Matt Akin, we talked with Hill. Hill stayed mostly silent about the accusations themselves, but gave us a clue that she would soon be speaking out at Tuesday's meeting: "That would be the appropriate time after that meeting, for me to share my comments about the accusations that were made."

Ferrell has said that board contention could affect the district's accreditation. WHNT News 19 obtained the accreditation report earlier this year.

Censure, defined as a formal statement of disapproval. While locally, it doesn't have much power to actually penalize someone, if the state superintendent steps in as Ferrell has asked he could take more action. That action could include sanctions or disqualifying a board member who he deems "neglectful of duty" or behaving with "willful misconduct" from serving on any other local school board in the state.

That would be a big step, though.

The  Alabama Association of School Boards tells WHNT News 19 via email, "There have only been two school board members ever censured in the state."

This is somewhat new territory, which explains why Ferrell's initial timeline for the censure procedure did not follow protocol outlined in Alabama law.

In Hill's home district, WHNT News 19 heard some support for her during this process.

Eddgra Fallin said, "I'm taking it personally, because as our representative-- she represents us." She added, "I think it's a terrible example for our children to see adults acting this way. I think the board needs to work together. We have so many more important issues."