The delicate and often-controversial balance of power at the Stockton Unified School District (SUSD) Board may be, once again, up for change.
With the unexpected departure of Board President Colleen Boardman this week (SUSD: Boardman quits, surprises most) and a new attempt to recall boardmember Jose Morales amid an alleged credit card misuse (Card charges shakes Morales) that could result in his resignation, the Board may well be short two members.
For the last few years the 7–member Board has been markedly divided in a three-to-four vote balance, with members belonging to two different schools of thought. This balance changed at least three times in two years —the last of these on the first of this year, when trustees David Varela and Sara Cazares were sworn in to replace Beverly McCarthy and Bill Ross, until then leaders of a 6-month majority.
Regulations call for at least three avenues to replace Boardman: a special election, a call for interested applicants followed by a selection by the Board, or the automatic replacement by the second vote-getter for the seat in the November 2008 election. The first option has been discounted by all people involved due to the cost that will entail.
“I believe we should go for the highest vote-getter and stay the course (of balancing the budget)” said SUSD Trustee Gloria Allen, “everything else is a distraction”
“I rather have a selection from a pool of applicants,” confided the Board’s acting-President David Varela, Stockton Teachers’ Association Ellen Old agreed.
Angel Jimenez, After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens (ASSET) Program coordinator for the Council for the Spanish Speaking (El Concilio) got 2,828 votes in the November 2008 election —coming second at 34.31%, and 429 votes behind Boardman in the three-candidate race. “Yeah! I’m interested,” he said to the possibility of being called to serve, “but right now I am in a ‘wait and see’ mode” adding he may apply for the post if it’s open for interested parties, “I may, I don’t know yet”
Board members have, by law, up to 60 days to name a replacement or call for an election. To select a replacement could take as little as two sessions —one to interview the applicants, and another to vote on them. Whoever replaces Boardman will represent Hoover, Madison, Stockton Skills, Tyler, and Victory schools, and will serve until December 2012, when her term was to expire.