Boston Voters Turn Out 2 Board Members Who Were Named in Bus-Contract Scandal
Boston voters last week ousted two school-committee members whose names were dragged through a long extortion trial recently--and, at the same time, the voters approved a dramatic change in the way future boards will be chosen.
Defeated were six-term veteran John J. McDonough, who was acquitted on extortion charges three weeks ago, and Elvira Pixie Palladino, who served two terms and was the only candidate to campaign against busing for school desegregation. A convicted former member of the school committee had accused Ms. Palladino of accepting part of a $25,000 payoff on the city's $40-million school-bus contract with ara Services Inc. of Philadelphia, but Ms. Palladino was not indicted.
For the first time in 76 years, there will be a majority of women on the five-member committee. With the addition of two black members, also a first, the board more nearly reflects the racial composition of the city schools; nearly 50 percent of Boston's students are members of minority groups.
As a result of the referendum's passage, most committee members will be elected from6districts beginning in 1983, instead of running city-wide as they now do. Nine members will represent districts, and four members will be elected at large.
The referendum--which will lead to similar changes for the city council--won by a large margin, with 36 percent of Boston's 247,323 registered voters turning out at the polls.
School-committee President John D. O'Bryant retained his seat, finishing first in a field of 10 candidates. Newcomers are Jean McGuire and Rita Walsh-Tomasini, both of whom had made unsuccessful bids in last year's election. Two other incumbents, Jean Sullivan McKeigue and Kevin McCluskey, also won re-election, coming in second and fifth, respectively.
The election's outcome appears to be favorable for Superintendent Robert Spillane, who already counts the three incumbents as supporters. Mr. Spillane became Boston's seventh superintendent in 10 years last August. But local observers are already speculating that the 13-member board, to be seated in 1984, may become factionalized and thus harder for the superintendent to satisfy.