Meet two of our new school board members who are leading on decisions despite a clear conflict of interest. It appears their loyalty to Reynolds High has bent them to give its sports program top priority among construction projects – at the expense of other schools.
Leah Crowley, Chair of the Building and Grounds Committee. Wife of RJR football coach Pat Crowley and a founding member of the private booster group Home Field Advantage. In order to secure the best options for a yet-to-be-funded stadium, she called a committee vote to demolish the Wiley gym one year earlier than scheduled. The schedule was set and approved under the 2016 School Bond. A change in schedule would cause additional disruption for Wiley Middle School students. It would have the Wiley gym project coincide with the Business 40 closure that has increased traffic through the neighborhood. It would also add an additional 6-12 months to the time students would be exposed to a construction zone adjacent to their classroom building. During this period students would navigate around a hard-hat area to access shared gym facilities at Reynolds. Superintendent Emory strongly advised the board not to subject students to this additional risk. This did not stop Crowley from pushing through the vote.
Deanna Kaplan (D, at-large). Wife of Ted Kaplan, RJR alum and a member of the Forsyth County Commissioners. Her selection as Chair of the Finance Committee is questionable considering the conflict of interest her relationship with a member of the County Commissioners presents. However, should she not recuse herself, she would likely play a significant role in securing stadium funds for her husband and children’s alma mater.
WSFCS policy on conflict of interest can be found here: WSFCS Policy-8250.