Longform

Townsel-ectomy

Page 5 of 5

The district is renaming Palmdale Elementary School after Brooks. He plans to run for reelection in November.

Brooks has taken a lot of heat for a lot of things over the years, not the least of which is his allegiance to Townsel.

Nonetheless, he argues that the current charges brought against Townsel were not egregious enough to vote with the rest of the board to start the ball rolling toward Townsel's termination.

"I'll have to stand in judgment on the matter later on," Brooks says. "I haven't heard all the evidence."

However, like everyone else who has a hand in running the Roosevelt School District office, he has heard the buzz in the community.

"The district has been jelling together and it appears to me that minor problems would much better be served through internal rather than external means," says Brooks.

But it was Townsel, not district officials, who insisted that an open hearing on the matter be held.

In the days leading up to his personnel hearing, Townsel resigned and then unresigned twice. He also parted ways with his attorney.

There are some other dynamics at play here as well.
Three board seats--those of Brooks, Aguirre and board president Carlos Avelar--will be up for election in November. Aguirre, who recently bought a home outside the district, may leave before theelection if her current home sells first.

Superintendent John Baracy, the district's first Anglo superintendent in at least a decade, was barely ushered in on a 3-2 vote. Baracy left his post as assistant superintendent at Phoenix Union High School District, replacing Alejandro Perez, who was ousted in another 3-2 vote by an African-American majority.

A lot of folks wanted Sherwin Allen, an African American who was acting superintendent, instead of Baracy. And African-American board member Linda Armstead has felt some heat from the community for supporting Baracy, with whom she worked at Phoenix Union.

Baracy's immediate attempt at reorganizing the district didn't pass muster with longtime board members, which, in turn, nearly bought them another recall.

In political shorthand, if Townsel beats this rap, it could mean Baracy's job, something Baracy has apparently chosen to ignore.

"My concern is to do what I believe isright for children in this district," Baracysays. "This is an issue of a violation of contractual obligations. I have no choice."

If Baracy had not brought forth charges against Townsel, he likely would have been accused of covering them up.

Meanwhile, Townsel has other irons in the fire. He's listed as a board member of the Superior Learning Academy Charter School in Phoenix, which is currently seeking approval from the state.

There will be a trial in Roosevelt, one that's likely to stir emotions and generate some pricey legal fees--provided Townsel requests a due process hearing.

If he does not, he's history.
But then again, Charles Townsel already has a history.

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Lisa Davis