The chairwoman’s request is on the unofficial draft of the July 24 school board agenda, obtained through an open records request by the Tribune, and calls for the board to vote on whether to convene the hearing to decide if Marlow should be censured.
In the draft, Read said Marlow’s complaint to SACS violated board ethics policy related to governance structure and conduct as a board member.
“It is with a heavy heart that I write this message,” Read said in the email obtained by the Tribune. “After an extensive review of Board Ethics Policy (BH) and several discussions with the school board attorney and much thought and consideration, I am requesting the following item be included on the agenda for the July 24 Called School Board Meeting: Request for Censure of School Board Member Kelly Marlow.”
Read wrote in her email to the board that she sent her request in advance to allow “additional time to reflect.”
For a code of ethics inquiry to take place, the board must allow the hearing by a two-thirds vote. If approved, Marlow would be given 30 days’ notice before the hearing.
In the case of an ethics hearing, the school board attorney would represent the board and Marlow would be allowed to bring her own legal representation. A hearing officer would conduct the hearing, a court reporter would document the proceedings and Marlow would be allowed to present witnesses. The hearing would be open to the public.
“Please know that the decision to take this action was not made in haste nor was it taken lightly,” Read wrote in her agenda request. “My goal, and I hope all of yours as well, is to make sure that we are acting in accordance with our policies and that we are keeping our focus on our responsibilities to the 39,000 students who will enter our schools in less than a month.”
There will be additional security at the July 24 school board meeting, and officials are monitoring interest in the meeting, said schools spokesperson Barbara Jacoby.
“(We) will take appropriate steps to safely accommodate the public,” Jacoby said. “Including relocation to a larger venue, if needed.”
Marlow sent the complaint and request for a formal investigation in June to AdvancED SACS, the agency in charge of school accreditation in the South. Marlow claimed in her complaint that the board was “no longer able to effectively govern.”
Read said Tuesday she requested the “code of ethics hearing regarding the SACS letter that Ms. Marlow sent.”
“I sent an email to all the board members last Tuesday, so a week ago, really two weeks in advance of the agenda,” Read said, “and notified them that I was going to be requesting an agenda item for a code of ethics hearing.”
In response to Marlow’s SACS complaint and other actions since her first meeting in January, Jacoby said she estimated 75 to 100 complaints against Marlow have been emailed to the school board.
Marlow, her political adviser, Robert Trim and Cherokee Republican Party Secretary Barbara Knowles were arrested earlier in July on felony charges of making false statements to police that Superintendent of Schools Frank Petruzielo tried to run them over with his car in downtown Canton following a heated school board meeting.