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State lawmakers could consider legislation allowing removal of school board members

Delaware Public Media

Delaware lawmakers may consider legislation in January creating a way to remove elected school board members.

The recent arrest of a school board member on child sex abuse charges has renewed interest in creating a way to remove elected board members.

Colonial School District board member Ronnie Williams was arrested for allegedly molesting several minors. He remains on the board although the rest of the board unanimously passed a resolution this week asking him to resign.

The only way a board member can currently be removed is if they are convicted of a felony.

State Rep. Paul Baumbach said he plans to work on legislation that would create a mechanism for removing school board members. He said he’s getting ideas from many stakeholders like educators, parents and school districts.

“We’re in, I’ll say we’re in the listening tour at this point of getting input from people on they would be comfortable with and what they think would be effective to object our kids and our schools,” he said.

State Rep. Paul Baumbach said he plans to rework legislation he drafted in 2017 that would create a process to remove a sitting board member.

“We’re still in discussion with a lot of stakeholders, but likely we’re going to have more than you’re on or you’re off," he said. "You know, there’s steps other than being removed from office.”

Baumbach said his legislation could eventually spell out a process that includes censure, removal from committees and background checks for school board members or candidates.

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