School board seeks applicants to fill Smith’s seat

Jane Smith

The Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District will appoint a provisional trustee to fill the seat vacated with the recent passing of Jane Smith.

At its June 18 meeting, the board of education voted to seek a provisional at-large board member, who would serve until the end of Smith’s four-year term in November 2020, rather than hold a special election.

“With the passing of Jane Smith, our board member, we have the duty to bring before the board an action item within a 60-day time period to give you the choice to either go out for election or to use an appointment process, which under our board policy and ed code is viable due to the timing of board member Smith’s passing,” said Superintendent Cali Binks, who presented the item to the board.

Before voting, Binks explained she tried to find out the cost of a special election but was unable to do so.

“I apologize for not having a dollar amount for what it would cost to go out for election,” she said, while explaining the options to the board. “I can’t give you a cost this evening, but we do believe it would be upwards of $10,000.”

With the board in favor of the provisional appointment process, the cost of a special election became irrelevant. Binks did say she would still try to get information on a special election for the board.

With Smith’s passing on May 27, the board has until July 27 to fill her seat.

“I would say over the next three weeks we would be getting applications in and we would look to have the applications read and provided for the July board meeting,” Binks said, explaining the timeline.

Interviews and the provisional appointment will take place at a special board meeting on Wednesday, July 24, the district announced this week, rather than the regularly scheduled meeting July 23. An informational meeting for anyone interested in applying is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 10, at the district office on Third Street.

Before that, however, Clerk Patty Ingram and trustee Sharon Bannister agreed to serve on an ad-hoc committee that will review applications to ensure candidates meet eligibility requirements.

“The ad-hoc committee would not be making any decisions other than reviewing applications and ensuring that the criteria is met,” Binks said, clarifying its purpose.

Smith, along with fellow incumbents Chuck Christie and the since-retired Jim Taylor, ran unopposed in November 2016. At that time, all district trustees were voted on at-large. Since the November 2016 election, the school district has adopted a by-trustee area voting process in accordance with the California Voting Rights Act of 2001.

This means candidates must reside in a specific area and only voters living in that area or district can vote on who will represent them. Smith represents Area 1, which encompasses all of Calimesa and parts of Hidden Meadows and the Dunlap areas in Yucaipa.

Smith, who was 74 when she passed away, had a long career in education and had served on the district board since 2008.

For applications and more information on the application process, visit www.yucaipaschools.com.

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