Orange County Board of Education meeting

The Orange County Schools Board of Education met Monday night at 7 p.m.

The Orange County Schools Board of Education met at 7 p.m. Monday night and voted for Will Atherton to remain board chair and Tony McKnight to remain vice chair. Both votes were passed by a 4-2 margin.

Board member Sarah Smylie was not present at the meeting. 

Monday’s vote came two months after a controversial vote that appointed Atherton and McKnight to those positions. Atherton replaced Brenda Stephens as board chair at that time and McKnight replaced Hillary MacKenzie for vice chair. 

Those that voted for the changes at the time pointed to a conflict of interest between Stephens and a family member who works in the school system and had recently conducted a report on alleged systemic racism at a local elementary school, as reported by Indy Week. 

Monday’s meeting began with a motion to bring forth agenda. Board member Stephens brought forth a motion proposing to vote by a show of hands as opposed to the normal procedure of voting by ballot.

“In the interest of open governance or transparency, I make a motion that we vote by show of hands, not way of the policy,” Stephens said.

After Stephens brought forth the motion, board member Matthew Roberts asked if the votes would still be on display for anyone to see if voted on by ballot, which attorney Colin Shive confirmed.

“The ballots are open for inspection in the superintendent’s office after they are made and then the votes of each board member will be entered into the minutes at the next meeting,” Shive said.

The motion to vote by way of a show of hands was opposed by a 4-2 margin. 

Board member Roberts then brought forth a motion that the board vote by ballot and it was carried by the board.

With that, the board proceeded to vote by ballot on the issue of re-electing the board chair and vice chair. Both board chair Atherton and vice chair McKnight were voted to remain in their respective positions.

Following the votes, the board moved to adjourn the meeting.