By Trina Trice
Board of Education Vice Chairwoman Connie Kitchens has blasted former ally Linda Crummy, creating a new split in the already fractured board.
Kitchens told board members in a lengthy letter that they are playing into the hands of John Trotter, and that Crummy is also, disregarding the promise they made to serve the community.
Crummy, who in recent weeks has not voted with the Kitchens ruling faction, blasted back, saying she will not participate in illegal activities orchestrated by Kitchens.
Kitchens' letter to all board members said in part: "For so many years you have stated that your purpose for serving the school board to serve the best interests" of the county's children.
Kitchens accuses Crummy of working with Trotter to ruin the school board, as she said he had vowed to do in the past.
Trotter, executive director of the Metro Association of Classroom Teachers, denies he has any influence over the school board.
Trotter has been a source of controversy, being accused of orchestrating the ouster of former Superintendent Dan Colwell, another charge he denies.
A majority of the board voted to buy out Colwell's contract for $232,000 after earlier efforts of some board members, Kitchens, Crummy, Chairwoman Nedra Ware, LaToya Walker and Carol Kellam, to get rid of him failed.
Crummy had recently been asserting her independence on the board, though, by voting against Ware and her allies who voted for Oscar Blalock to replace Dr. Susan Ryan who resigned from her seat.
Instead, Crummy voted for board member applicant Mary Mallory. This action effectively blocked an appointment and left open the door for a change in the law letting voters fill the vacancy this year.
Doing the right thing is what she tries to do, Crummy said after one board meeting last month.
About Kitchens' letter, Crummy said it is just an example of "Ms. Kitchens throwing one of her temper tantrums when she can't get her way. Since I don't want to engage in illegal actions that she wants to engage in, she's acting childish. I want her to do what is best for the children in Clayton County. I wish she had attended that curriculum meeting" Monday night.
Kitchens and member Barbara Wells serve on the Curriculum Committee. At the Monday meeting, Oliver Elementary School Principal Dr. Ronald Boykins presented a proposal to transform his school into a math and science theme school.
Crummy didn't understand why Kitchens didn't show up to support the school. Kitchens and Ware had expressed interest in theme schools at a March press conference.
Ware and Kitchens were called but were not available for comment.
In April, Kitchens, Ware and Kellam announced they were severing ties with Trotter, by terminating their MACE membership.
Kitchens, Crummy and Ware are Fulton County school teachers; Kellam, who was picked to fill a vacancy only days after moving into the district, is a substitute teacher for the Fulton County school system.
Trotter said he thinks Kitchens wrote the letter criticizing Crummy, because, "Linda didn't participate in the trashing of me and in their asinine activities, such as those press conferences," he said. "Such finger pointing is indicative of the paranoia of small-minded people."