The La Marque school board should ask Shirley Fanuiel, one of its members, to resign.
Fanuiel, who has been indicted on a charge of felony theft, has submitted a letter saying she’s taking a leave of absence.
That’s not good enough.
The school district is fighting for its life, and Fanuiel’s presence as a trustee doesn’t do much to inspire public confidence — even if she’s effectively abdicated that post.
At the very least, this half step leaves vacant a trustee’s seat at a time when the community desperately needs good leaders who can focus on the plight of school district. The district’s problems are serious enough to warrant the appointment of a state conservator.
At a time like this, the board should include the best leaders the community can muster. It shouldn’t feel obligated to keep a seat open for someone who is having to fend off criminal charges.
An indictment is an accusation — not a conviction. Fanuiel is entitled to be presumed innocent. She has every right to fight those charges, but she should fight them as a private citizen, not as an elected official.
Until the criminal charge is resolved, Fanuiel should not be a part of the board.
What the school district needs today is a new trustee — someone without this kind of distraction.
The school board should ask her to resign. If she does not, the board should take steps to remove her. That’s not going to be easy, but the board should try.
• Heber Taylor