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Merchon Green, defeated for School Board, picked to chair School Equity Committee

Photo: Merchon Green

Merchon Green was obviously disappointed when she lost her election bid to become an Indian River County School Board member, but the defeat left her free to accept the chairmanship of the Equity Committee, a potentially important oversight position.

The Equity Committee was created by a September court order to oversee the school district’s compliance with a desegregation order that has been in effect for 51 years. The panel has two members chosen by the School Board and two by the NAACP, which represents black students and parents.

Green was chosen as committee chair on Thursday, Nov. 8, by the four members that had already been appointed to the Equity Committee.

In running for the School Board, Green’s campaign planks had included addressing the 31-percent achievement gap between black and white students, as well as the school climate, in which black students are disciplined nearly three times more than white students.  

She was a member of the school district’s student code of conduct committee that met a dozen times over eight months for many hours in an effort to make the school climate less punitive and punishments less subjective. She was also a member of the African-American Academic Achievement Plan Committee, which was dissolved by the court order, its responsibilities transferred to the Equity Committee. 

In addition to monitoring the academic achievement gap and shortage of black teachers, the Equity Committee will also make recommendations to the School Board on how to comply with and therefore finally be released from court oversight, which the agreement estimates will take another three years.

Green was chosen to chair the Equity Committee over two other leading candidates based on 10 qualities.  She scored highest in seven.