All 13 applicants for a Gilbert Unified School District board vacancy are still in the running, despite earlier news the search had been narrowed down to four finalists.
Maricopa County Superintendent of Schools Sandra Dowling had chosen four finalists, who were interviewed a couple of weeks ago, said Hope Olguin, elections specialist for the superintendent's office.
The four finalists were told to expect a decision by the end of last week, and the Tribune was told a decision would be made in early March, then March 17.
However, Deputy Superintendent Ted Carpenter, who had been out of the office until last week, said Monday that the decision had not been made because the "interview process has not been completed yet."
Carpenter said the process was changed while he was gone, but now his staff and Dowling have decided everyone should be interviewed. "To me it makes for a better process," he said.
Adelaida Severson, who had been a finalist, said the news is surprising.
"Wow! That's interesting," she said. "I guess that gives everyone a fair chance, but I'm a little speechless. Maybe there's some political things going on."
Gilbert board President Helen Hollands, who said she was waiting on "pins and needles" for the decision, said she was disappointed at the delay. However, "as long as we get the best one, I'll be happy," she said.
Julia Taylor McCleve, a 16-year former Gilbert district board member and one of the previously eliminated applicants, said she was glad to be back in the running. "I didn't submit my name lightly, and it's nice to be considered," she said.
Another applicant, Holly Reycraft, said she is "thrilled" she will be interviewed.
"I think it was somewhat of a surprise that I wasn't granted an interview," she said. "It's great news."
Carpenter said a decision is expected to be made by April 2.