Board will conduct application and interview process
In a unanimous vote at their most recent meeting, the board of trustees for the West Sonoma County Union High School District (WSCUHSD) decided to open an application period for school board trustee candidates, a process which will culminate with applicant interviews and an appointment by the school board at a public meeting.
Former trustee Lori Bruhner notified the district that she would be resigning on June 26, effective June 30. Once a trustee resigns, school boards have 60 days to either order an election for the position or make a provisional appointment.
During the July 8 special school board meeting, trustees considered which options to pursue for filling the vacant trustee seat. The district’s consulting attorney, Lisa Mori, said the board could either call for a special election that would have to be held in March, or they could seek and interview candidates for the position and make an appointment. The appointed person would serve the full remainder of the resigned trustee’s seat, a term that ends in 2022.
Board members noted that in the last 20 years they have chosen the candidate application and interview process twice as a route towards selecting a new trustee.
“I’ve gone through this a couple of times like the other board members. It is very interesting. You’ll get all kinds of applicants … and the only requirement is that the applicant has to live within the boundaries of the district,” said school board trustee clerk Ted Walker.
“Getting to the criteria first, you simply need to be eligible to hold public office,” Mori said. The applicant would also have to be 18.
Mori explained the application process, which public comment speakers and trustees asked for further elaboration on.
“Generally what happens is — if the board decides to go the route of filling by appointment — that starts the process of public advertising for applicants for the board vacancy. Internally, you set a timeline so that you can make the appointment within a 60-calendar day window from the date the resignation was filed with the county superintendent,” Mori said.
Once resumes are submitted and an applicant pool is collected, a board meeting is set up with the school board president and the candidates are interviewed during a public meeting. Trustees will then deliberate and decide who to appoint to the term.
If the board decided to move forward with a special election, then the seat would remain vacant until that election. Due to this reason and the desire to get a strong pool of applicants, trustees settled on the application and interview option.
During public comment, those in the school district community voiced support for the application and appointment process. Adam Parke said it may be a good opportunity for bringing in new perspectives to the school board.
“I hope you take serious consideration into appointing somebody from the community at large, somebody from business, somebody who can bring a new perspective to the board,” Parke said.
The next steps for the district will be the creation of an application period timeline and working with the district human resources director, Mia Del Prete, and school board vice president, Kellie Noe, on setting up potential times for a public meeting.
School board trustee Diane Landry said, “Perhaps we should give Mia some time to work out a timeline then she can inform us, and we can go from there.”
To keep up to date on West Sonoma County Union High School District happenings, check out their live updates feed at: http://wscuhsdca.apptegy.us/o/wscuhsd.