Wednesday, December 9, 2015

School board to determine vacancy process at Thursday's meeting

(Originally published in the 12/9/15 edition)

   The school board will determine which process will be used to fill the vacancy left by late Trustee Rosie Switzer at Thursday’s meeting.
   Switzer, who passed away Nov. 29, had been serving the Benicia Unified School District’s Governing Board for 10 years. Per Education Code 5090-5095, the board has a variety of options to fill her seat by Jan. 29, 60 days after the vacancy. The board will discuss all possibilities.
   The first option is for the board to make a provisional appointment. A person would be chosen to fill a one-year term until the next school board election on Nov. 8. The winner of the November election would hold office until Dec. 7 2018, which would have been the last day of Switzer’s term.
   The second option is for the board to order a special election prior to the Nov. 8 general election. The elections could fall on either April 12 or June 7. For a special election to be held on June 7, the board would have to order the election by January 28. Once again, the winner would serve the remainder of Switzer’s term. However, the board would have to function with four members until the special election, and the cost would be more than $264,000.
   Finally, the board can decide not to make an appointment or call for an election. Under this scenario, if the board fails to perform either of the options by Jan. 29, County Superintendent Jay Speck would call an election to fill the position and place it on the ballot for the general election in November. The winner would fill the rest of Switzer’s term, and the board would operate with four members until the general election.
   In other business, the board will consider and approve California Basic Education Skills Test waivers for 30-day substitute teachers and Special Services Director Carolyn Patton will lead a discussion on counseling and mental health support. 

   The board will meet at 7:15 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 10 in the Benicia Unified School District Board Room at the district building on 350 East K Street. There will be an earlier closed session at 5 p.m. and a board workshop at 5:15 p.m.

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