The D.C. School Board will have 11 candidates to choose from next month when it meets to appoint a new member to fill the Ward One seat recently vacated by City Councilman Frank Smith Jr.
The contenders who filed by yesterday's 5 p.m. deadline included Edna Frazier-Cromwell, who chairs the 14th and U Streets Coalition, and Manuel Lopez, a manager of Navy vocational-technical programs who had narrowly missed election to an at-large seat on the board in 1981.
Also competing for the seat are: James W. Curry, Ward One Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner; James R. Forman, an author and chairman of the Unemployed and Poverty Action Council; Douglas G. Glasgow, a former dean at Howard University; Christopher Hoffman, former principal of Adams Community School; Jonas Milton, a private housing consultant and former candidate for the board, and Ward One residents Ilia Bullock, Ama R. Saran, Jacob Sherrill Jr. and Joseph Webb.
Each of the candidates will be given 10 minutes to address the board at a community meeting at Cardozo High School on Feb. 7. Two supporters of each candidate will be given five minutes to speak, as will any residents of the community who sign up in advance with the board. The board is expected to appoint a new member at its regular meeting on Feb. 16.
The competition for the seat has taken an unusual twist with a series of anonymous letters, titled "Ward 1 News," circulated to school board and community members.
The letters are critical of Edna Frazier-Cromwell and charge that Mayor Marion Barry has used his political clout to pressure the board to select her for the seat.
Spokesmen for the mayor's office repeatedly have denied that Barry has been pushing Frazier-Cromwell, and school board members say they have felt no pressure from the mayor.
But the anonymous letters have caused an uproar in the ward and have prompted some of the other competitors to contact school board members and stress that they have had nothing to do with the unsigned statements.
Meanwhile, City Councilwoman Hilda Mason (Statehood-At large) has introduced a bill that could make this the last board vacancy filled by appointment. The measure would require future board vacancies to be filled by either "special, primary or general elections."
Said Mason: "I don't think that elected people should appoint people to serve on an elected body."