The chairwoman of the Oklahoma City School Board is challenging the candidacy of a potential opponent in the upcoming annual school board elections.
The incumbent, Angela Monson, alleges one of her opponents is ineligible to hold office under a statute that prohibits felons from sitting on the school board.
The would-be challenger, Marcia Muhammad, on Tuesday filed her intent to run for school board against Monson in the February elections.
Friday was the deadline to file challenges of candidacy.
Muhammad pleaded guilty in 2001 to two felony counts of falsely obtaining food stamps. Her sentence was deferred, and Muhammad told The Oklahoman that her legal counsel said that because the sentence was deferred she could be on a school board.
Monson said she disagrees.
“My interpretation of the law, along with others that I have visited with, seems to include that an individual that has entered a plea of guilty to a felony conviction is not able to serve in this capacity,” Monson said Friday.
A hearing before the Oklahoma County Election Board is set for 10 a.m. Tuesday. Both Monson and Muhammad will be able to present their cases with evidence and witnesses. Muhammad must pay $250 to be able to enter an appearance at the hearing. Monson paid $250 for the challenge.
The election board will determine with the help of an assisting district attorney whether Muhammad's name should appear on the election ballot or if she should be declared ineligible to be a candidate.
Monson's challenge cites an Oklahoma law that reads, in part, “A person who has been convicted of a misdemeanor involving embezzlement or a felony … or who has entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to such a crime shall not be eligible to be a candidate for or to be elected to any state, county, municipal, judicial or school office or any other elective office of any political subdivision of this state for a period of fifteen years.”
There is a third candidate in the race, Lynne Hardin, so even if Muhammad were struck from the ballot there would still be an election on Feb. 12.
In other board races
Two candidates also withdrew from school board races Friday.
Joe Rockett, who was the third candidate in the race for Oklahoma City School Board Office 1, withdrew as a candidate. The race will now be between Bob Hammack and E. Jann Maultsby. The seat is held now by board member Lyn Watson, but she is not seeking re-election.
In addition, the only candidate opposing Putnam City School Board member Rebecca Haliburton in that district's Office 3 race has withdrawn his name from candidacy. Gregory Clyde will not appear on the ballot, meaning Haliburton will keep the seat.