Wednesday, May 28, 2014

4 file for school trustee vacancy

School board meets to choose new member

Express Staff Writer

    Four Blaine County residents filed letters of interest by the deadline Friday to fill a position on the Blaine County School District board of trustees. The seat has been vacant since the resignation in January by former board Chair Paul Bates.
    The district board of trustees scheduled a special meeting for late Tuesday afternoon to interview the candidates and possibly make a decision regarding Bates’ successor. Results of that meeting were not available by press deadline Tuesday.
    Filing for the vacancy were Hailey residents Tom Bergin, Carol Freund and Richard Roberts and Bellevue resident David Wray.
    None of the applicants lives in Zone 4, where the vacancy exists. The board was allowed to accept applications from anyone living within the district because two earlier attempts to recruit a Zone 4 resident were unsuccessful.


The school board was allowed to accept applications from anyone living within the School District boundary because two earlier attempts to recruit a Zone 4 applicant were unsuccessful.

    Idaho law provides that a person living anywhere in the district can be appointed to a school board vacancy if a resident within the vacant zone is not appointed to the board within 90 days. That period ended May 2, when the district began accepting districtwide applications.
    Zone 4 includes the west Ketchum area and areas to the west of state Highway 75 from north Hailey to the Blaine County border with Custer County.
    Wray filed his letter of interest on May 2. It merely states that he is interested in the position but provides no details. Wray has been a frequent writer to the Idaho Mountain Express, having had several letters published within the past few years.
    In a letter to the editor of Nov. 14, 2012, Wray wrote about the importance of technology in the classroom, stating: “Change is coming to schools. It is virtually impossible to name any other enterprise in America that would put up with the record-setting poor performance that our public schools have endured and not be replaced with a new model. The proper integration of technology in our schools would help us be competitive in a global economy.”
    Freund filed for the position on May 9. She wrote in her letter of interest that she has lived in the Wood River Valley for 33 years and has been a business owner for 25 years. She had children who graduated from Wood River High School in 2009 and 2010 and states that her “passion for education has not waned.”
    “I now have the time and energy to devote to this position and I would consider it an honor to be a part of the continued shaping [of] our school district.”
    Freund further described her past involvement with the district. She has served as a PTA officer at Hailey Elementary School, Wood River Middle School and Wood River High School. She has also served on various district planning committees.
    Roberts filed his letter of interest on May 16. He stated that he has a child currently enrolled at Hailey Elementary School and is “very interested in serving on the board.” Additional information on Roberts was not immediately available.
    Bergin, who is Blaine County land use and building services director, filed his letter of interest on May 23. Bergin states that he grew up in Bellevue and is a Wood River High School graduate.
    “Education is the highest public priority in this community and state,” Bergin wrote. “Public budgets illustrate this appropriate, elevated priority. Accordingly, managing the affairs and administrating the funds of this community’s public educational system is an important responsibility.”
    Current board members are Chair Shawn Bennion, Vice Chair Kathy Baker and Trustees Kathryn Graves and Elizabeth Schwerdtle.

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