By Kevork KURDOGHLIAN
The Glendale Unified School District board of education gave direction to Superintendent Sheehan and his staff to prepare possible guidelines and timelines for an appointment process to fill the seat left vacant by outgoing board president Mary Boger.
Boger’s last day will be Aug. 31, from which point the board will have 60 days to fill the vacancy. Boger and her husband will be moving to Massachusetts, citing health issues as the reason for her resignation.
At her last meeting on Tuesday, Boger was surrounded by flowers, awards and gifts from community groups, like the Glendale Education Foundation and Crescenta Valley’s Prom Plus.
The GUSD board is not unfamiliar with midterm vacancies. In 2002, former board member Jeanne Bentley’s passing put the board in a similar situation.
The board, excluding Boger, who recused herself from this discussion, decided against a special election, which would have cost the district about one quarter million dollars.
Board Vice President Greg Krikorian will assume the presidency of the board until the next rotation of officers after the April 2015 election.
Board member Nayiri Nahabedian said she is not opposed to a special election, which was the only word of support given to a possible special election. Nahabedian mentioned that she would support an appointment with strong caveats.
Board member Christine Walters shared many of the caveats that the board had in mind. Walters wants a candidate who is very knowledgeable about the issues facing the district, noting, “We don’t have time to bring them up to speed.”
The board felt strongly that the “substitute board member,” as Walters referred to the appointee, should publicly declare his or her unwillingness to run for the board in April 2015.
Nahabedian, who felt a public commitment against running would not be a strong enough guarantee, said, “We need to be really clear whether or not that person is seeking election in April or not.”
Member Armina Gharapetian added she “is not for appointing someone I know will be running.” She thought it did not make sense to spend $250,000 to elect a member who would only serve for approximately nine meetings.
Krikorian also supported appointment over a special election. He suggested that there may be members of the community, “diamonds in the rough” as he put it, that would make good candidates, such as retired teachers, PTA parents and members of other school related committees.
He also entertained the option of possibly appointing a former school board member, like Chakib Sambar, Joylene Wagner, Pamela Ellis or Lina Harper.
Superintendent Sheehan expects the details of the appointment process to be presented for discussion and action during the board’s Sept. 2 meeting.
Though the direction to fill the vacancy by appointment was the highlight of the meeting. Superintendent Sheehan did comment on the controversial Sagebrush territory transfer issue.
“Nothing will be decided or done without a public meeting,” Sheehan commented. He also mentioned that the item might come up as early as September, but most likely in October.
In addition to the regular budget and Measure S updates, both reports containing positive news for the near future, the board renewed its contract with GeoListening Services for a second year.
The service, which monitors public posts, will “ensure that we are looking out for the safety of our students in the broader sense,” according to Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kelly King.