PONTIAC, Mich. - A classroom teacher has been elected to the school board in the Pontiac School District, though whether that constitutes a conflict of interest remains a question, according to The Oakland Press.

Mary Barr, a Pontiac Middle School teacher, is one of two new board members who will be seated in January, The Press reported. The Press asked officials whether her situation was similar to that of a local firefighter who agreed to quit his job in order to retain a seat on the Pontiac City Council.

In response, a spokesman for the state Attorney General's Office said the office has not examined Barr's case, but pointed to an opinion issued in 2005 stating that because a school board has supervisory authority over district employees, simultaneously holding both positions is barred by state statute, The Press reported.

No one has challenged Barr's appointment, and the school board president and vice president told The Press she could abstain from voting on issues that would affect her as an employee, such as the teacher contract.

Barr told The Press that she would deal with any legal issues regarding her appointment at the time they arise.

SOURCE:
The Oakland Press, "Pontiac: Teacher could face conflict as part of school board," Nov. 5, 2009

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Digest, "Judge: Official can't keep both posts," May 30, 2009

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