TUSD Trustees Opt to Appoint New Member After Welch Resigns

Cara Hallam

The Turlock Unified School District Board of Trustees unanimously decided to conduct a provisional appointment, as opposed to a special election, to replace Trustee Grady Welch after he abruptly resigned from his position. The decision came during a special meeting of the TUSD board, held Tuesday evening.

The official resignation of Welch was accepted by the Stanislaus County Superintendent on July 5, and then accepted by the TUSD Board of Trustees on Tuesday evening. Since Welch was elected to the Board of Trustees in November 2011, he still had two years left in his term.

Welch stated in an official resignation letter to the district that it was his intent to resign due to many extenuating circumstances.

“It has been and honor and privilege to serve for a short while,” said Welch in the letter. “I hope that the Board of Trustees will continue to do great things for the students of Turlock.”

The Board of Trustees could have chosen to either make a provisional appointment until the November 2015 election when Welch's term would have expired, or to call for a special election. The special election could have cost the district up to $96,250 while a provisional appointment will only cost an estimated $500.

Although the Board of Trustees voted to conduct a provisional appointment for someone to serve the remainder of Welch’s term until 2015, the decision did not come without discussion about whether that individual could continue to serve after that point.

“If we appoint somebody that lives in the three areas that are up for reelection this coming year, that person will be on for two years and then not be able to run again, so our appointment would effectively be a two-year term,” said Trustee Frank Lima. “Although this process is what we followed in the past, we didn’t have area elections then, and so now that changes it.”

Although the Board of Trustees recognized the complications involved with an appointed trustee now that TUSD follows an district-based election model, it was decided that the candidate would know that it might only be a two-year term going into the situation.

“That would be their decision,” said Trustee Josh Bernard. “They’d be aware of that going in.”

According to a timeline put forth by the District, individuals interested in being appointed to the Board of Trustees must submit a candidate information form and a letter of intent to the board secretary, Superintendent Sonny Da Marto, by July 23. These documents must also be supported by a resume and any accompanying qualifications documentation.

A screening committee comprised of three Trustees will meet to review each candidate’s information form and narrow down the selection of candidates to be interviewed by the entire board in the beginning of August.

“I do want to thank Mr. Welch for his time on the board,” said TUSD President Bob Weaver. “He always had good comments and opinions, and we wish him the very best.”

Those interested can receive a candidate information form at the Turlock Unified School District Office, Office of the Superintendent located in Room 210 at 1574 E. Canal Dr. in Turlock. More information is available by calling the District Office at (209) 667-0633.

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