Davis schools Superintendent Winfred Roberson spelled out the process Monday evening by which the school district will fill a vacant seat on the Board of Education. Trustee Nancy Peterson resigned abruptly on March 6 in the midst of a contentious dispute over the Davis High School volleyball coach.
Trustees also conducted a public hearing Monday on a petition submitted early last month by a group of parents seeking to establish a Montessori charter school in Davis.
It has been more than a decade since the Davis school board has appointed a trustee to fill a vacant seat; the last time was in 2002, when trustee John Poulos announced that he would be moving out of the school district, and would therefore resign as a trustee.
But in 2002, Poulos announced his intention to resign well in advance of the effective date, giving the school district time to plan an appointment process. It included a filing period for the appointment, followed by a public forum and resultant media coverage.
The board ultimately selected Keltie Jones after multiple ballots were cast.
The current appointment process differs from the 2002 process in a number of ways. Peterson’s resignation was effective immediately, which started the clock ticking right away on the 60-day process of seating a new trustee. She also resigned with approximately 2 1/2 years remaining in her term. With past resignations, there typically was only a year or less remaining in the resignee’s term.
Consequently, Davis faced an obscure section of state education code that indicates that under such circumstances, a school board can appoint a trustee who will serve until the next regularly scheduled election — in this case November — and then voters will elect a candidate to fill out the remainder of the unexpired term. Alternately, the board could choose to hold a special election right away to fill the unexpired term.
On Monday, the board quickly discarded the idea of a special election, which likely would cost between $200,000 and $300,000. Instead, Roberson proposed appointing a trustee who would fill the vacant seat until fall, and then voters would select a candidate at the polls Nov. 4 to serve the remaining two years of Peterson’s original term.
On the same ballot, voters will elect candidates for the three board seats currently occupied by two-term trustees Sheila Allen, Gina Daleiden and Tim Taylor.
In other words, four seats will be filled in November, with candidates deciding whether they will seek a two-year term or one of the three four-year seats.
Allen is running for the Davis City Council and has said she will not seek another term on the school board. Taylor and Daleiden have not announced their intentions.
Roberson outlined a suggested process for selecting a new trustee: Applicants will need to file by Tuesday, April 15. The application form, which should be available today from the school district office, will pose seven questions. Applicants will get 250 words to answer each question and they may attach a brief résumé.
The applications will be reviewed by district staff to make sure that the applicants live in the boundaries of the Davis Joint Unified School District and then likely will be reviewed briefly at April 17 board meeting.
The applicants’ statements and responses to the seven questions will be posted online.
A special board meeting may be called in late April or early May to further review the applications. The board then plans to hold a special meeting on May 8 to consider the applications, take public comment and select an appointee.
— Reach Jeff Hudson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8055.