School board opts to fill vacant seat with provisional appointee, now seeking candidates

Members of the IUSD Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to fill a soon-to-be-vacant school board seat with a provisional appointment, avoiding the costly option of a special election.

The board will now collect applications, interview finalists and select one qualified candidate to complete the term of Dr. Gavin Huntley-Fenner, who announced at the last board meeting that he’s stepping down on Nov. 21. His successor will assume all powers and duties of a governing board member until the next regularly scheduled election in November 2014.

A two-member subcommittee of Sharon Wallin and Michael Parham was appointed Tuesday to develop selection criteria and interview questions for prospective candidates, who can apply for consideration by completing this IUSD Board of Education Provisional Appointment Application. These online applications must be submitted by noon on Friday, Nov. 8.

The Board will then review candidates and select finalists for interviews. Here’s a timeline of that process.

Regular board meetings are typically held on the first and third Tuesday of every month, with occasional special meetings. Board members, who must live in the district, typically spend about 15 to 20 hours a week participating in community functions, county and state events, trainings and meeting preparation.

Incidentally, the Orange County Registrar of Voters had estimated the cost of a special election to be between $338,657 and $380,450.

Also on Tuesday night:

  • Board members engaged in a lengthy discussion about the location, timing and financing of IUSD’s fifth comprehensive high school. We have more on that in this separate post.
  • The board ratified an agreement with the Irvine Teachers Association that raises compensation by 2 percent and includes a one-time payment equal to 1.7 percent of each employee’s pay based on the 2013-14 salary schedule. The new contract for certificated educators also ups the district’s contribution for health benefits. Board members had ratified a nearly identical agreement with classified employees at their last meeting, and they approved a similar settlement with the Irvine Supervisory Association on Tuesday. The agreements collectively mark the first cost-of-living increases for IUSD employees since 2008.
  • The evening began with a special presentation on traffic and safety around Irvine schools. Presenters included Lauren Sipelis, director of elementary education; Keith Tuominen, director of secondary education; Tom Allan from the Irvine Police Department and Laurie Grushka from the City of Irvine.