Becky Smerdon, a Falls Church School Board candidate in Tuesday’s City election, was the subject of a six-vote majority vote on the School System’s Special Education Advisory Committee Monday seeking her removal as the committee’s chair. An almost two-hour meeting tonight at the Schools’ Central Office was almost entirely consumed with the matter. The motion was made at the outset of the meeting by board member Hillary Crockett and efforts to delay and modify the motion – technically, to request of the School Board that it take action to remove Smerdon as chair and vice chair Christina Rice – failed in a series of votes that failed to garner more than four votes (Smerdon’s and Rice’s included).
Cause for the action was what was described as an almost total breakdown of communication within the group since last year, something that those who’ve been involved with it for more than a decade attested to. Some members singled out the move by Smerdon and Rice to file a petition against the Superintendent and School Board in the Arlington District Court last month. Smerdon insisted it was her right as a citizen to do so, but others on the board called it a “conflict of interest” with her duties as the board chair.
Other members cited “a spirit of collaboration that has been lost, collaboration with the School Board, with the School Board liaison and among members of the committee.” Others assailed being called “liars” or “not smart enough to be on our committee” or “unwilling to do the work.”