Wednesday’s 3 p.m. deadline came and went with only one person filing an application for the Blaine County School District Zone 4 trustee vacancy created by the resignation of board Chairman Paul Bates in January.
Even that application, from mid-valley resident Kirk Peterson, wasn’t submitted to the district office until Wednesday. A note on the bottom of the letter of interest from Peterson states that it was received at 8:56 a.m. on Feb. 26.
Peterson could not be reached for comment by Idaho Mountain Express press deadline on Thursday.
The existing school board, chaired by Trustee Shawn Bennion and including Trustees Kathy Baker, Kathryn Graves and Elizabeth Schwerdtle, earlier scheduled a special board meeting for Wednesday, March 5, to interview any “interested applicants.”
Once someone is chosen to fill the Bates vacancy, that person can serve as trustee until Bates’ term of office would have ended in July 2016. The new trustee would be entitled to run for re-election for a full four-year term in May of that year.
Bates resigned in January after allegations surfaced that underage people had consumed alcohol at his mid-valley home at a New Year’s Eve party hosted by his college-age daughter the evening of Dec. 31, 2013. Bates wrote in his letter of resignation that he had gone to bed early that night and was unaware of what had taken place. Nonetheless, he wrote that he accepted responsibility because it was his home.
The school board officially declared his trustee position vacant on Jan. 29. According to Idaho law governing school board vacancies, the board has 90 days from when the vacancy was declared to appoint a new board member that resides in Zone 4.
If no appointment is made within 90 days, then the board may appoint an at-large trustee, living anywhere within the boundaries of the district, to represent the zone.
Idaho law further provides that if a new trustee is not appointed by the board within 120 days of when a vacancy was declared, then the appointment of a new trustee becomes the responsibility of the county board of commissioners.