Flood of candidates apply for open seat on Kings school board

In a school system that usually attracts 3-6 candidates for multiple, open school board seats, district officials now find themselves inundated by 24 candidates for a single board position, according to documents obtained by an Ohio Public Records request by the Journal-News.

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Among the candidates is a local school superintendent and a retired Kings board member.

The 24 candidates are forcing the current four school board members into a marathon day of interviewing – starting early Wednesday morning and ending in late evening with a board vote on who will be appointed onto the governing board of Kings Schools.

“The board will start at 8:00 a.m. and work through interviewing all the candidates,” said Kings Schools Treasurer Cary Furniss.

“I would expect a decision no earlier than 8:30 to 9 p.m. at this point,” said Furniss.

Earlier this month, after the board accepted the resignation of former Kings Board of Education Vice President Kerry McKiernan after in an emotional confession announced his intention to resign a few days after the racist basketball jerseys incident came to light and drew a national outcry.

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A father of one of the boys on the team, McKiernan said he failed in his responsibilities by not objecting to the jerseys when they were first unveiled.

For multiple games, the teens – Kings students playing in a youth league not affiliated with the school district but using local school gyms – wore jerseys seen by dozens if not hundreds of parents, fans, friends and others.

They all saw a player whose jersey name on the back was “Knee Grow” play next to a teammate identified by his uniform as “Coon.”

And they played on a squad they – along with their adult coaches – dubbed “Wet Dream Team.”

But it took those multiple games before anyone spoke up about the thinly veiled racist terms.

The southern Warren County, suburban district has historically been among the top academic performers in Southwest Ohio and the entire state.

The district’s student enrollment is 2.3 percent African American, 5.4 percent Hispanic and 3.6 percent Asian.

Among the 24 candidates – all of whom are required to be Kings school district residents - is Clermont County’s Bethel-Tate Schools Superintendent Melissa Kircher and Hamilton Schools Assistant ESL, Gifted and Assessment Program Director Corbin Moore and former Kings board member Bonnie Baker-Hicks.

In a unanimous action during the board’s Jan. 16, the four Kings board members said they will interview all candidates applying for the open seat.

Under Ohio school law, the board has until Feb. 9 to appoint a new member to the board.

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