Education Beat Analysis: March 15 Flint School Board meeting collapses into chaos

By Harold C. Ford

“Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” –The Who’s Peter Townshend, “Won’t Get Fooled
Again,” 1971

After a few months of fragile collegiality sprinkled with polite platitudes, the newest iteration of the Flint Board of Education (FBOE) has descended into a chaotic reminder of what board-watchers have regrettably witnessed again and again in recent years.

The March 15, 2023 affair signaled, perhaps, a local, modern-day version of the infamous Ides of March. The very public bad-blood board relationships continued at the FBOE’s Finance and Operations Committee of the Whole (Finance COW) one week later March 22.

Flint Board of Education in session during a January 2023 meeting. (Photo by Tom Travis)

Despite the fireworks, FBOE members managed to approve these resolutions:

  • All seven members agreed to investigate an alleged excessive retirement payout to the district’s former executive assistant.
  • By a 5-2 vote, the board approved an amended document titled “Superintendent’s Proposed Six-Month Focus.”

Trustees Melody Relerford and Laura MacIntyre cast the dissenting votes. “This proposal … includes strategic plan (pieces),” Flint Superintendent Kevelin Jones said.  “I just want to move … forward,” he added. [The document has not been made available to the public; EVM will report on it when it does become available.]

March 15: election hopes dashed?

Each new generation of leadership in Flint Community Schools (FCS) has brought with it hopeful possibilities of a turnaround of sorts, “a pivot” as declared again and again by Relerford, one of the panel’s newest members.

In the Nov. 2022 election, Flint voters swept every incumbent from office and implanted five new faces on the Flint board. According to Paul Rozycki, East Village Magazine’s (EVM) longtime political sage, it was a sweep of incumbents likely never seen in the history of Genesee County politics.

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Seemingly, voters sent an election-sweep roster to Flint’s public-school board hoping for an end to the dysfunction so often witnessed in recent years. [See Editor’s Note below.] Any hopes for an end to that dysfunction were likely dashed in the last 90 minutes of the March 15 meeting.  It included the following:

  • Accusations of misconduct, even alleged prosecutable offenses, flew in multiple directions.
  • Raised voices (shouting really), name-calling, gavel-banging (eight times), and figurative finger-pointing accentuated multiple accusations of wrongdoing.
  • A flurry of parliamentary interjections – 62 in all (16 points of order; 46 points of information) were uttered – during the last approximate 90 minutes of the meeting. Additionally, FBOE President Michael Clack declared someone on the board to be “out of order” 16 times.
  • A vote to uphold Clack’s ruling that MacIntyre was “out of order” ultimately failed on a 3-3-1 vote; Relerford curiously left the meeting just as the first vote reached her (she said she had to use the bathroom), and then abstained on a second go-round of Clack’s effort to declare MacIntyre “out of order.”
  • Central administrators and the district’s attorney joined the fray.
  • An officer of the Flint Police Department conspicuously positioned herself on the stage near FBOE members.

A few audience members openly shouted their displeasure at what they were witnessing. In the end, an investigation into alleged improper or unlawful conduct in the matter of a former employee’s retirement payout was passed unanimously with all members seeking clarity and/or vindication for their very different interpretations of what transpired.

Interested readers may witness the dysfunction described above starting at about the two-hour mark of the YouTube recording of the March 15 FBOE meeting.

[Editors’ Note: See previous Education Beat articles about chaotic local government(s) in many past issues available online at]

Multidirectional intimations or allegations of wrongdoing and threats of lawsuits that flew in multiple directions at the March 15 meeting created a confusing latticework of points and counterpoints, charges and countercharges. Following are brief descriptions of some of those trysts:

1. Clack asked for an investigation of a $61,000 payout to a former district employee,
agreed to by the previous iteration of the school board, alleging it was about ten times the amount that ought to have been paid. Currently, FCS administrators are allowed a
maximum of $6,250 for “accumulated paid time off upon retirement.”
Clack: Clack read from an audit prepared by Stephenson & Company that found
“unused paid time off was paid out to a nonunion employee upon termination of
employment at a rate significantly higher than past practice(s) …This payout … was
approved by the board.”

  • Clack: “You (Joyce Ellis-McNeal, trustee) were president at that time. Can you explain it?”
  • McNeal: “That was an agreement between her (the employee) and Mr. Jones … They agreed to the $61,000 … The board has absolutely nothing to do with payout.”
  • Jones: “I don’t care how this goes. I was just accused. This board voted. I knew nothing about it. I told her (the employee) ‘no.’ She usurped my authority and came to you (McNeal and the board) … I wouldn’t have ever asked this board to pay out that kind of money … I’m hurt somebody would say I would do that.” Jones said his administration is currently the subject of a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request about the matter which limited his ability to speak more freely.

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  • McNeal to Jones: “If you knew that was a wrong check, why did you mail it?”
  • Clack: “You (MacIntyre) were the treasurer. How did $61,000 walk out the door?”
  • MacIntyre: “We voted to have this employee compensated fairly according to the law,,, We had no idea what the monetary amount would be … The board did vote to approve the payout … I stand by that decision.”
  • Clack: “Who put it (the payout) on the agenda? Clack then indicated only two persons had final responsibility to shape the board’s agenda and that would have been the board’s president (McNeal at the time in question) or the superintendent (Jones).

2. Attorney Charis Lee, managing partner of Lee Legal Group, was summoned to the
speaker’s table by Clack to help shed light on the matter of the alleged exorbitant $61,000 retirement payout. Upon the recommendation of McNeal, Lee was retained by the district in the fall of 2021 after the board’s dismissal of The Williams Firm. A tension-filled relationship between Lee and senior FBOE members McNeal and MacIntyre has publicly unfolded since June 2022 and was on display again at the panel’s fractious March 15 affair:

  • Lee: We already have a policy about the payouts … What happened here is that
    the board bypassed that. That can have serious consequences.” Lee said she was
    told by former board president Carol McIntosh, who was absent from the payout
    meeting, “there had been some type of criminal activity.” Lee added that former
    board member “Pastor (Allen) Gilbert felt he had been tricked.”
  • MacIntyre: MacIntyre charged Lee with “a conflict of interest.”
  • Lee, looking in the direction of McNeal and MacIntyre: “Every time I come up
    here … you begin to slander me … I know the rules and law of slander … The
    next time I will file it in the courts.”
  • Jones: As Sharita Galloway, current FCS executive director of human resources,
    made her way to the speaker’s table, Jones cautioned against possible
    retribution(s) against Galloway by board members in response to her public
    statements. “Not if it’s going to cause her to start to be ostracized,” he warned.
    “I’ve been here so many times with these things.”
  • Galloway: “A payout of any kind doesn’t come to the board,” said Galloway. She
    said the board’s payout was done “not according to the policy, the procedure, or
    the process.” Galloway, hired by the district in Feb. 2022, said she had “no
    knowledge” of the payout prior to FBOE approval.

3. McNeal and MacIntyre again challenged the parliamentary correctness of their ouster from committee assignments at the board’s earlier Feb. 8 meeting after they and Claudia Perkins, board treasurer, abruptly exited before adjournment. McNeal and MacIntyre reiterated their charges that the ousters violated board policies, Robert’s Rules of Order and due process.

  • McNeal: “You did not follow … due process and Robert’s Rules of Order.” McNeal indicated she may seek legal assistance about the matter.
  • MacIntyre: It was “an illegal (vote) … You cannot remove a board member … on
  • Dylan Luna, board treasurer: “I’m not going to engage in this conversation.” After Luna’s comment, Clack turned the board’s attention to the excessive payout controversy.

4. A terse conversation ensued between MacIntyre and Jones about unspecified threats and harassment.

  • MacIntyre: “Is it true that you (Jones) made this statement … that Dr. McNeal and I threatened and harassed you.” She called the purported claim “slanderous.”
  • Jones: Flint’s superintendent referenced “people trying to threaten and do harm to me.” Jones cautioned, “We can’t just put everything that’s going on at this table outthere in the public.” He suggested “another setting” for a full discussion and indicated he may seek the assistance of an attorney on the matter.
  • Luna: “We know for a fact that these people (senior board members McNeal and
    MacIntyre) over the years have harassed administrators. It’s in the news; it’s

5. Clack, MacIntyre, and Relerford: Banging his gavel for emphasis, Clack ruled MacIntyre “out of order” on multiple occasions. Following a “first warning” Clack asked for MacIntyre to be removed from the meeting.

  • Clack: “Can we get her (MacIntyre) out of here please. Time for her to go.”
  • Relerford: The aforementioned bathroom trip and abstention vote stymied
    Clack’s effort at removal.

6. Relerford and Wolf: Trustee Relerford was obviously irritated by something FCS
Executive Director of Finance Latisha Wolf said or did during an appearance in front of the school board.

  • Relerford: “Mr. Jones, I would ask you to address Dr. Wolf tonight.”
    Conspicuously, Relerford quizzed Jones about the deadline for nonrenewal of
    employee contracts.
  • Wolf did not respond publicly to Relerford’s comments.
  • One week later at the FBOE’s Finance COW meeting on March 22, McNeal
    revealed that Wolf had submitted her resignation earlier that day. “The district is
    losing its CFO (Chief Financial Officer),” she said. “We’re losing our CFO,”
    confirmed Perkins.
  • Luna: “We’re on a ship that has lost crew members … She’s leaving because she
    feels she hasn’t been treated fairly.

7. MacIntyre, Clack, and Dompreh: Somehow, past charges of harassment by Ayunna
Dompreh, the district’s former executive director of finance, long since resigned, made
their way into comments:

  • Dompreh had filed several “hostile work environment” charges against MacIntyre in Aug. 2021.
  • MacIntyre: “I was cleared of any of the allegations (of harassment) … I am really
    tired of the lies and accusations … I will take action.”
  • Clack, immediately: “Do what you gotta do.”

8. MacIntyre to Clack: MacIntyre said she felt “railroaded” by Clack. “To have the
president of the board railroad us into this discussion (is) alarming and disturbing.” She said the implied charges of wrongdoing were “very unprofessional … unsubstantiated …stemming from vague Facebook allegations.”

  • MacIntyre to Clack one week later at the March 22 Finance COW meeting as the
    meeting adjourned: “What’s the result of the investigation? … I’ve been accused
    of improprieties.”
  • Clack: “You’ll find out.”
  • MacIntyre: “You’re not fit to be president.”

9. Luna to MacIntyre and McNeal: “Our two senior colleagues were not on the (November, 2022)ballot. I believe if they were, they would’ve been voted out.”

EVM Education Reporter Harold C. Ford can be reached at

Author: Tom Travis

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