Wednesday, March 26, 2014

School trustee search begins anew

Former trustee Bates joins board of new charter school

Express Staff Writer

Paul Bates

    For a second time, the Blaine County School District has issued a call for applicants to fill a Zone 4 school board vacancy.
    Meanwhile, the former trustee, whose position the district’s school board is trying to fill, has been elected to the board of directors of a new state-funded charter school in Blaine County.
    Syringa Mountain School, set to open this coming school year for grades K-5, announced Friday that former Blaine County School District Trustee Paul Bates had been elected to the charter school’s board of directors. Syringa also announced the election to the board of Dr. Scott McLean, a past president and current board member of the St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation. The foundation is affiliated with St. Luke’s hospital.
    New charter school board members are elected by the existing charter school board, not by a public vote. Bates and McLean will join current Syringa board members Ben Rogers, Phoebe Pilaro, Travis Scott and board Chair Greg Bloomfield.
    “I’ve been to a number of their meetings and, given how young they are, I thought I might have something to contribute to their success,” Bates said in an interview Tuesday.
    Bates served on the district school board for five and a half years.
    “I thought I might be a good fit with them. I’m trying to see what I can do to help out,” he said
    Bates joked that the Syringa board position “pays twice as much as the other school board job.” Both school boards are voluntary positions and neither includes a salary.

I thought I might be a good fit with them. I’m trying to see what I can do to help out.”
Paul Bates
Syringa Mountain School

    Bates resigned from the Blaine County School District board in late January after allegations arose that alcohol was served to underage people at a New Year’s Eve party held at his house by his college-age daughter. In his letter of resignation, Bates stated that he had gone to bed early that night and wasn’t aware of what had taken place, but he nonetheless took responsibility because the underage drinking occurred at his home.
    The district has been unsuccessful thus far in filling the empty Zone 4 position, which includes areas west of state Highway 75 and generally north of Empty Saddle Trail in Hailey to the Custer County line. State law requires that the Zone 4 board representative live within Zone 4, unless a board member cannot be found from that area.
    The School District’s first attempt at finding a new board member met with failure when the only applicant, accountant Kirk Peterson, withdrew his application shortly before the board met March 10 to interview him for the position.
    The district issued a second call for Zone 4 applicants on Friday. To apply, a person must provide a letter of interest to the district by the deadline of 3 p.m. on Monday, April 21. Complete information on applying is available at the district website at
    Idaho law provides that if the school board is unable to fill the Zone 4 vacancy with a Zone 4 resident within 90 days of when the vacancy was declared, which occurred on Jan. 29, then the board may appoint someone living outside the Zone 4 boundaries to represent the zone.
    The law further provides that if a new trustee is not appointed by the board within 120 days of when the vacancy was declared, the appointment of a new trustee becomes the responsibility of the county’s board of commissioners.
Terry Smith:

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