School board vacancy filled by appointment - Jon Lee to serve.

The school board had a special meeting tonight, Monday, August 7th, to address the vacancy on the board due to Scott Halvorson's resignation. There is 10 months until the next election. I attended the meeting in full - and was extremely glad I did! The meeting proceeded as follows:

  • The board interviewed the twelve applicants (You can read about each of them here - click on their pictures for more information.)
  • All candidates were asked the same questions, each board member scored candidate responses on a scale from 1 to 5, and recorded their score on a page. At the end of each candidate's interview, the board members immediately passed their scores to be recorded by the superintendent.
  • The board agreed that the top two candidates would be considered for discussion. After scores were tallied, Jon Lee was the top score, with Lawrence King scoring second.
  • The board members did not agree on whether it was a close or a wide spread between the top two candidates. (Lee scored 75, King 68 out of 100) 
  • Discussion included the experience that Mr. King brought to the table as a long serving past board member, as well as consideration of the 7300 voters who cast a ballot for him last election, even though he lost his seat on the board.
  •  There was additional discussion on whether it was more important to consider the number of votes cast in favor of him, or to consider the message voters sent in not renewing his seat on the board.
  • Discussion also included the input received via phone and email from the community on behalf of all candidates, and the outpouring of support Mr. Lee in particular had received.
  • A motion to appoint Mr. Lee initially failed to be seconded.
  •  A motion to appoint Mr. King was seconded, but resulted in a 2-2 split upon voting.
  • At this point things got confusing, as a tie breaker process was not planned for. Board members were reluctant to leave the meeting without a decision, as the week until their next meeting was unlikely to resolve the deadlock. All agreed that a special election was not in the best interest of the community.
  • Discussion was had on the merits of looking more closely at the numbers - what was the median score received by Mr. King and Mr. Lee respectively? Board members agreed to a 5 minute break.
  • After break, board member Sagsveen, who had previously supported Mr. King, moved to appoint Mr. Lee, in the interest of resolving the deadlock. 
  • The motion was seconded, and the board voted 3-1 to appoint Mr. Lee. He is expected be sworn in at the next board meeting if all the necessary paperwork can be completed by that time.