The Gilbert school board is suggesting the Arizona School Boards Association’s delegates back changing the law to have local school boards fill their own vacancies, not county school superintendents, as they now do.
The suggestion was one of three made Tuesday by Clyde Dangerfield, Gilbert Unified School District’s assistant superintendent of business services, to forward to the association.
The board agreed with his suggestions.
“It just seems to make sense it ought to be done at a local level,” Dangerfield said.
The suggestion came at the first school board meeting attended by newly appointed member Lily Tram.
She was appointed by Maricopa County on Monday after a drawn-out, two-month appointment process that some board applicants and district officials found confusing.
Tram is now one of three current board members appointed to fill vacancies.
Elaine Morrison was appointed last year, and Thad Stump about four years ago. Morrison was formerly on the board for 12 years, and Stump has since been re-elected and is in the second year of his second term.
Dangerfield said the suggestion had nothing to do with the current board, and realized afterward it might have been “awkward” for those appointed.
The board had to decide at this meeting what they would suggest because the deadline to submit proposals to the Schools Board Association is April 18.
“I didn’t mean to be offensive,” Dangerfield said. “I think we’ve had very, very good appointments. They’ve done a very good job; it just seems it ought to be a more locally controlled issue.”
Stump, the district’s School Boards Association delegate, said he views the issue as “certainly something that should be talked about.”
“Even when I went through the process, I didn’t really know what was going on. I was just along for the ride,” Stump said. “The process through the county seems somewhat cumbersome.”
Morrison, appointed in October 2003 to fill a vacancy on the Flagstaff Unified School District board, said Wednesday that “most public process can use improvement.”
“I believe the appointive process has produced quality board members, said with all modesty, of course,” said Morrison, whose term ends at the end of this year. “It would take less time, if that is the ultimate goal, then there would be reason to change (the appointment process).”
The other two board suggestions for the association are to lobby for more per student funding at least at the national median level, and a funded career ladder program.
The district’s suggestions will be compiled and reviewed by the association’s legislative committee, made up of school board members throughout the state, said Panfilo Contreras, the association’s executive director.
The association is a private, nonprofit group that focuses on technical assistance, training and advocacy for public schools in the state.
The legislative committee’s recommendations will then be up for approval at the delegate assembly June 28 in Tempe.