UCPS board member John Crowder passes, remembered by redistricti - myfoxcarolinas.com

UCPS board member John Crowder passes, remembered by redistricting opposition

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Union County Public Schools lost their longest-tenured board member, John Crowder, 77, to a stroke on Sunday afternoon -- just five days after making a controversial motion at a board meeting.

"Mr. Crowder was our longest-serving School Board Member," UCPS said in a statement today. "He has served since our school system was created through merger in 1993. Prior to that, he served on the Monroe City School Board since 1982. He was a tireless champion for children and his leadership will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."

This morning, Crowder's wife Minnie told My Fox Carolinas that her husband was "extremely healthy." 

Last week, Crowder made a motion to move forward with a school redistricting plan that would shift thousands of students in Union County.

Many parents and students were upset with the motion and expressed their feelings towards him. Today, most parents opposed have done nothing but express gratitude for his work in education.

"For right now, the focus needs to be on his family and his legacy," Citizens for Adequate Public Schools member Aaron Asbra said. "The 31 years that he spent serving for our kids and our schools."

Asbra was one of the many that was shocked when Crowder, who had been mostly quiet at meetings for months on the redistricting debate, made his motion last week to redistrict thousands of students. He even wrote him an email expressing his concerns last Wednesday.

This week, though, there's a calming from involved parents in Union County -- even with an injunction to be filed this week to slow down the redistricting process and ultimately, they hope, prevent it from happening.

"Immediately, the people that had been the most involved in this said that for the next couple of days we just need to dial it back," Tracy Kuehler said.

Kuehler, a former county commissioner who is running again, has been opposed to redistricting. Still, when thinking of Crowder and his legacy -- redistricting isn't what sticks out.

"Mr. Crowder seemed to always be the one that gave the invocation," Kuehler said. "And I think that says a lot about him as a person. You could tell that his deliberations were made with that spiritual guidance, that, that was a big part of his life. That he worked his faith into his decisions. Whether you agree with what he did or not, it came from a place -- his heart and his knowledge in the system."

The Union County Board of Elections says that the school board will notify them that a seat is open and the seat will become an unexpired term to be filed on in July and put on the ballot in November.

There will be a majority of five out of nine seats open on the board of education come November's election.
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