Two board members at Minneapolis' Lincoln International High School are accused of fraud. Allegations concern a conflict of interest, as well as forgery, but what really bothered the charter school's director and staff is that the board had gone radio silent, canceling meetings and refusing to take calls.
Lincoln has a student body that would make the United Nations proud. For 18 years, it has been a bridge for new arrivals, and for its 200 students, it's more than a school.
However, just a few days before graduation, parents learned the school could be shut down. A letter from Augsburg College said it was prepared to revoke its sponsorship authorization of Lincoln because of two school board members. The board chair, Mukhtar Musa is accused of arranging after-school transportation with a company he owns. Another board member is accused of falsifying documents saying he was the guardian of a child who attended the school.
On Monday night, about 60 parents packed into the school gymnasium for a meeting translated in three languages. Before it was over something extraordinary would happen -- the parents voted to dissolve the two school board positions and installed a longtime teacher as interim board president, much to his surprise.
Former Minneapolis Board of Education member Mohamed Noor was watching it all from the sidelines and believes it was empowering for the parents to learn they're really the ones in the driver's seat.
"We live in a democracy. The decisions are made by those who show up," Noor said.
As empowering as the vote may be, some question remains about whether everything done -- a voice vote to dissolve two board seats -- was totally legal. But it seemed to satisfy the representative from Augsburg College.