Board Members' Conflict Brings Race into Race

By: Brian Quick Email
By: Brian Quick Email

(Topeka, KS)--With election day coming up on Tuesday, one school board race has seen the focus shift off of the race -- and onto the *issue of race. USD 5-01 board member Betty Horton is running for re-election against Hal Gardner, but is now involved in a conflict with fellow board member Patrick Woods.

Horton says she will tell her side of the story at a news conference Monday.
"I reached the point where this is the last straw," Woods said. "This latest attack, calling me a racist, forced my hand."

Woods said an article in Friday's Topeka Capital Journal, in which fellow board member Horton wondered if her colleagues would be more comfortable with a white man in her position, led him to speak out publicly.

Horton said over the phone she feels this is a politically motivated attack.

This isn't the first time Horton has criticized 501 board members. Iin April, the Capital Journal quotes her as saying, "All i know is Patrick thinks he's white...that's it..print it...patrick married white...he thinks he's white."

Woods released a legal memo regarding an incident that allegedly occurred during a may board meeting. In it, former 501 attorney Joe Zima advises Woods that Zima witnessed an exchange in which Horton allegedly told Woods he was "lower than white."

Horton told 13 News over the phone that releasing this to the press constitutes libel.

Horton initially agreed to speak with 13 News on Saturday...then postponed it until Sunday. She said she had something come up Sunday...and chose not to interview with us.

She says she will now be holding a news conference Monday at 6:00 p.m.


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