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Vallecitos files for waiver to fill vacant Trustee Area 5 seat

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

The Vallecitos School District has a vacant trustee seat which according to state law would be filled by an election unless a waiver from the State Board of Education is granted, and on May 9 the Vallecitos School District board requested the waiver.

The 4-0 board vote authorized the submission of a waiver request to the State Board of Education. The waiver, which is expected to be granted, will allow the school district to fill the vacant seat by appointment rather than by an election. The vacant seat is for Trustee Area 5, which is in the western part of the district, and an applicant must be a registered voter in that trustee area.

“We are still actively recruiting,” said Vallecitos School District superintendent Meliton Sanchez.

Melissa Cox had been the Trustee Area 5 board member since October 2021, but she resigned March 9 for family reasons. The March 14 Vallecitos School District board meeting included a 4-0 vote to approve the provisional appointment process to fill the vacancy.

Section 5091 of the California Education Code stipulates that if the vacancy is not filled within 60 days, the County Office of Education superintendent shall call an election to be held within 130 days after the election is ordered, so the seat needed to be filled by May 8 in the absence of a waiver of that deadline.

“We were unable to find a replacement within that 60-day window, so we just want to extend that time,” Sanchez said.

The waiver is intended for situations such as a lack of applicants rather than for a deadlock in which no applicant receives the necessary board majority to be appointed. Calling an election when no residents previously applied could also create the possibility of no candidates filing for that election.

Applications to fill the vacancy are available in the Vallecitos School District office. The other Vallecitos School District board members will conduct interviews of the candidates at a future board meeting before selecting the new trustee.

The term of the seat is from December 2020 to December 2024, and the appointed board member is eligible to run for a full term in the November 2024 election.

 

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