Friday, July 19, 2013

Bates elected school board chair

New Trustee Kathy Baker takes the oath of office

Express Staff Writer

    Paul Bates was unanimously elected school board chair by his fellow board members at the July meeting of the Blaine County School District board of trustees on Tuesday night.
    Bates was nominated for the post by Trustee Kathryn Graves. Her motion was seconded by Trustee Shawn Bennion.
    “I feel good about nominating Paul,” Graves said. “He has the most seniority on our board and I think he’s going to do a great job.”
    Bates replaces former Chair Steve Guthrie, who was defeated by new Trustee Kathy Baker in the Zone 2 school board election in May. Baker became an official board member Tuesday night after taking the oath of office administered by Clerk of the Board Laurie Kaufman.
    Following Bates’ election, Bennion was unanimously elected vice chair. Graves also nominated him for the position, and her motion was seconded by Bates. Bennion replaces former Vice Chair Don Nurge, who resigned from the Zone 5 board of trustees’ seat in June.
    “I think Paul and Shawn will make a great team,” Graves said.
    In other business, the board unanimously voted to reappoint district Business Manager Mike Chatterton as treasurer, Kaufman as clerk of the board, Adam King as district attorney and Director of Students Services Debi Gutknecht as district representative for various federally funded programs.
    Unlike last year, when some district patrons were upset over the litigation between the School District and its energy contractor, McKinstry Essention, there were no public comments regarding the appointments or election of a new chair and vice chair.
    Bates has now served on the board for four years, having been first elected in 2009 to the Zone 4 position by defeating former board Chair Alex Sundali. His re-election was automatic this year since no one filed to run against him.
    Bennion enters his third year as a trustee, having been elected to the Zone 1 post in 2011 by defeating Hallie Kelly Star.
    In further business, the board approved meeting notice posting locations for the coming year, including the district office, the Community Campus, post offices in Bellevue, Hailey and Ketchum, all eight of the district’s schools and on the district website. Notices are also provided to the Idaho Mountain Express.
    “It needs to be noted that this is considerably greater than what is required by law,” Bates said. “This is reflective of a few years ago when people did not feel they were able to access the notice, that it wasn’t public enough.
    “We haven’t had any pushback, so I think we’re doing a good job.”
    At the conclusion of the meeting, Bates was congratulated on running a tight meeting. Rather than being an hours-long marathon, as has been typical with school board meetings, the meeting only lasted about 45 minutes.
Terry Smith:

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