Racine Unified Board President Melvin Hargrove made the wrong choice this week when he appointed John Koetz to the district’s Board of Education.

Instead of taking either Koetz or Wally Rendon – the two names between which current board members couldn’t decide despite 35 votes – Hargrove should have looked elsewhere.

We have issues with the law that gave Hargrove the power to make the appointment in the first place, but we’re more worried about the comments we’re hearing from citizens who think Hargrove appointed Koetz to serve interests represented more by deep pockets than to serve the best interests of “regular” district stakeholders.

We believe Hargrove was well aware of the questions that would be raised if he appointed Koetz, and instead of choosing a member of the community outside of Koetz and Rendon who is willing to serve at least until April, erasing much of the present scrutiny under which he finds himself, Hargrove took the low road.

Of course we’re giving Koetz the benefit of the doubt on being a fair member of the board who weighs the pro’s and con’s of the issues that come before him.

But, given all the acrimony this process has stirred between board members and between the Racine Unified community and the board, and especially as head of the Board of Education charged with being a leader in name and action, Hargrove should have had someone other than Koetz or Rendon waiting in the wings.

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