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Racine Unified logoNewly elected school board member Lisa Parham submitted a letter of resignation to school board president Melvin Hargrove Monday citing personal reasons.

But many sources have told the Racine County Eye that it’s because she has past felony convictions for forgery.

“Recently the board was made aware that Ms. Parham may not be able to serve as an elected board member,” Hargrove said in a press conference. “I responded to this information with appropriate action. I respect Ms. Parham’s decision and I ask that the public be respectful of her privacy as well.”

Online records indicate that Parham – under the name Shelesia Mann – was charged in 1994 with nine counts of uttering a forgery, a class C felony. She signed a $4,500 signature bond in July 1994 when the charges were filed, and Parham agreed on Feb. 27, 1995 to a plea deal for two of the nine counts. The other seven counts of forgery were dismissed as part of Parham’s plea deal.

The late Dennis Barry was the judge assigned to the case.

A case filed against Parham in civil court earlier this year lists the name Shelesia Mann as a name by which Parham has been known.

Under the Wisconsin Constitution, anyone with a felony conviction that has not been pardoned is ineligible to run for and hold public elected office, including the school board. The state Declaration of Candidacy form is clear about the restriction.

“Your name cannot appear on the ballot if you have been convicted of a felony in any court in the United States for which you have not been pardoned,” the instructions read.

Parham did return messages but said she has no comment and did not offer a confirmation of whether or not she would resign Monday prior to the scheduled Legislative Committee meeting of which she is a member.

The convictions came to light when sources alerted Racine County Eye about a packet being delivered to central office.

Racine County Eye left messages for several members of the school board and spoke to both board President Melvin Hargrove and board member Don Nielsen.

Hargrove said before the press conference that he couldn’t comment on Parham’s felony convictions.

“I have had conversations with individual board members, but I can’t comment until we meet together so everyone is informed at the same time,” he said.

Hargrove did confirm that a packet was delivered, but he was unable to provide insight about its contents.

Nielsen said he was aware of the situation but wasn’t willing to comment until he had a more complete picture.

The Racine Unified School District Board of Education is expected to meet Tuesday to vote on whether to accept Parham’s letter of resignation.

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