Re-1 hopes for a full board

Search on to replace Howell

Keywords: Poll question,

The Montezuma-Cortez School Board Re-1 is scrambling to find a replacement for board member Beth Howell, who resigned her seat after her husband took a job in Albuquerque.

Finding a board replacement may not be easy, if the recent past is any indication.

The school district will post the vacancy for 60 days, and the board will conduct interviews with applicants — if there are any — before appointing someone to the board.

Appointed members do not fulfill the entire term or the seat they take and instead only serve until the next school board election, which is November 2013.

If the board does not appoint a replacement candidate within 60 days, the responsibility falls to board president Tim Lanier.

Lanier said neither he nor the board can appoint anyone if no one applies or shows an interest in the position.

Lanier said that’s what happened recently when board member Diane Fox decided not to seek re-election to the board due to health concerns.

However, no one ran for the open seat in the 2011 school board election, resulting in the board going from seven to six members.

Lanier said Fox later asked and sent in a letter of application asking that she be considered for an appointment to the board, mentioning her health had improved enough to allow her to serve.

The board president said he does not know if there are any residents living in Howell’s former district who might be interested in seeking a board position. Howell defeated Corey Veach, a local rancher, in last November’s election.

He added, the board can operate with six members in the short term like it had before Fox’s appointment. Lanier said the board managed with six members for about three months.

By law or statute, Re-1 is required to have a seven-member school board.

Having an uneven number of board members prevents tie votes. One issue that was a good example of the problem that could occur with only six board members was when the board voted 4-3 to go back to a five-day school week.

Lanier said he is fairly optimistic the district will find someone who lives in Howell’s district and is interested in being appointed to the board, but added he is not 100 percent confident this will happen.

Re-1 administrative assistant Linda Diffendaffer first posted the opening on Tuesday and said she plans on running the same ad six times, which states all applicants must have lived in the community for one year and also needs to be a resident of District C.

Reach Michael Maresh at michaelm@cortezjournal.com