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COMPTON : Trustee's Absences Could Lead to Ouster

June 16, 1994|JOHN D. WAGNER

Compton school board member Lynn Dymally has not attended a board meeting in nine months and is on the verge of losing her seat, school officials said.

District officials said they will recommend to the county education office that the seat be declared vacant if Dymally misses two more meetings without a legitimate excuse. She missed the most recent board meeting Tuesday night, and the absence was recorded as unexcused under a new policy approved last month by Jerome Harris, the state-appointed administrator for the district.

Dymally last attended a board meeting Sept. 21, according to school board records. School officials give varying reasons for her absences. Some say she has been ill. Others say she is boycotting meetings to protest the state takeover of the Compton school system, which has reduced the seven-member board to an advisory body under Harris.

Harris, who assumed his position in February, said Dymally has expressed frustration about the takeover and apparently did not want to attend meetings. "If the board doesn't perform its normal duties, she wonders why she should even come out" to meetings, Harris said.

School Supt. Harold L. Cebrun said last month, however, that Dymally told him she has been ill. He said she did not elaborate.

Dymally refused to discuss her absences when reached by phone. "I don't like receiving press calls at home," she said. Dymally, 35, was elected in 1991 to a four-year term.

Under state law, a board seat can be declared vacant if a member is absent at least three consecutive months except for reasons of illness or excused travel.

A county education official discussed Dymally's absences last month with Cebrun but concluded that the seat could not be declared vacant then because she had told the superintendent she had been ill. The official, Marc Forgy, who determines whether to order special board elections, said he did not attempt to contact Dymally or Harris, the administrator.

Under the new district policy, which took effect this month, board members are required to explain any absences. The board declared Dymally's absence Tuesday as unexcused after she did not call in.

District officials said the new policy was not aimed at Dymally, although they expressed concern that she had offered no official explanation for missing the meetings.

"I'm just concerned that the seat be filled and that we have a fully functioning board," said board President Michael Hopwood, who urged Harris to approve the new policy.

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