A group of prominent African-American leaders in Springfield... including a city alderman... are raising concerns that the school board's contentious relationship with Superintendent Walter Milton, and the recent resignation of another top black administrator, are tinged with racism.
Alderman Gail Simpson was one of several leaders who addressed the school board Monday night to raise the issue and request a meeting with board members... and the district's attorneys. The group claims that Milton has been pressured to resign... a charge that Milton denies. But the group also sees racism in the harsh public criticism directed toward Milton by some school board members. Milton wouldn't say whether he believes the criticism is racially motivated, saying he's focused solely on meeting the educational needs of students.
The black leaders also objected to the recent resignation of District 186 human resources director Alexander Ikejiaku. They suggest he took the fall for the failings of a Lanphier teacher who's been accused in a sex scandal involving students. And they say Ikejiaku tried to rescind his resignation and was turned down. Milton confirms that Ikejiaku did try to take back his resignation, but said he could not comment further on a personnel matter.