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1Letter to the Editor:

Toledo Board of Education President Larry Sykes’ vitriolic character assassination of former Board Member Anita López in the Toledo Journal was inappropriate, crude, and was not about racial tensions among the Latino and African-American communities.

Mr. Sykes masked his true intention with these accusations. In our opinion he seeks to discredit anyone who disagrees with his actions on the Board or takes issue with his perception of the accomplishments of the school district. 

Ms. López was right on target with her comments about the functioning of the Toledo Board of Education and their priorities. The Urban Coalition and many of its members have for years worked to effect change in the discipline process and the high dropout rates of minority students, as well as many other issues of importance to our children.

Flute Rice - President, Urban Coalition

Many of our members have experienced first hand the assassination of their character simply to confuse and cloud the message they were carrying. This type of behavior is intended to censor the individual through intimidation and make personalities more important than the issues and challenges affecting our community.

We have serious issues and problems in Toledo which requires serious and steady leadership. Implying racial motivations to the observations about board operations by a former Board Member is counterproductive in our efforts to reform TPS.

The Board has for years been dysfunctional with Board Members engaging in personal attacks on each other, union leadership and community members at board meetings and in the press. The board has been unable to establish unified goals and direction that would demonstrate sustainable results.

Ms. López is again right on target when she says, “There weren’t any steps taken to make improvements, just steps to get good headlines.” Many promises have been made and broken with most of the achievements touted by Mr. Sykes affecting but a few students and without sustainable results.

Nonetheless, press conference after press conference has been staged to convince all of us that action is being taken and results achieved. It is a major subterfuge to keep all Toledoans from asking hard questions, demanding results, and determining an accurate assessment of the state of public education in Toledo.

If Ms. López is to be faulted, it must be for staying silent so long about issues the Coalition has known existed. Many of which we have provided documentation to the Board to support our concerns such as the Toledo Plan. We could have used her voice and support.

Nonetheless, we now believe the entire board is nothing more than a rubber stamp for an entrenched, self-interested bureaucracy that is centered on adult concerns. Our children are little more than dollar signs to this impersonal and defensive institution. In the central city you only have to look at academic achievement of our schools to know that many children are being left behind!

It really does not matter to Mr. Sykes whether your skin is black, brown, or white. What really matters to him is whether you agree with his opinions and perceptions or not. He has demonstrated a pattern of behavior that shows disdain for community members and used intimidation frequently when his perception of reality is challenged.

Don’t be fooled by the rhetoric, our children have not been served well by the current board and administration regardless of its makeup. It is time for a change!


Flute Rice
President, Urban Coalition
28 N. Centennial Rd.
Holland, OH 43528






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