The resignation of San Diego Unified school board member Marne Foster leaves a vacuum on the school board. At Tuesday’s board meeting, the four remaining trustees will decide how to fill the seat.

The district has to appoint someone within 30 days. If it doesn’t, it must hold a special election, according to the city charter.

A special election wouldn’t make a lot of sense right now. Primaries are already scheduled for June, so a special election would happen just before then. Plus, special elections are costly and time-consuming.

In 2014, for example, when a South Bay Union School District was looking at a special election, the San Diego County Registrar of Voters estimated it would cost the district anywhere from $330,000 to $380,000, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.


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So far only one candidate, LaShae Collins, has announced plans to run for the now-vacant seat. Collins, a staffer for Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, lives in sub-district E, which covers a swath of southeastern San Diego.

An appointment is a likelier option for the school board. That person would have to reside in sub-district E. So Collins would be eligible.

One issue to iron out is whether whoever the school board appoints will be allowed to run for re-election in June. Barrera said the board plans to discuss the details of the incoming board member’s term on Tuesday.

There’s nothing in the rules governing district elections that prohibits an appointed member from running in the election. But the board could say it’s a condition of the appointment that the person decline to run in June. The point is, whoever is appointed might not hold the seat for long.

Then there’s the question of how involved the community could be in picking an appointee: That person will need to be a representative figure, but time is of the essence. The term of the vacant seat lasts only until the end of the year.

Barrera said it’s important to find the right person, but also to fill the seat quickly.

    This article relates to: Education, Must Reads, School Leadership

    Written by Mario Koran

    Mario asks questions and writes stories about San Diego schools. Reach him directly at 619.325.0531, or by email: mario@vosd.org.

    6 comments
    Cornelius Ogunsalu
    Cornelius Ogunsalu

    The current four member BOE should not partake in finding a replacement for Foster. At least, three of the current four trustees have been compromised and are part of the problem at SDUSD. The sooner those three individuals resign, the better it will be for SDUSD, and the faster the district's affairs will be put in order. The cost of having an election to replace four SDUSD BOE trustees may be steep [but] will be worth it, in the long run.

    Right now, those three members are trying to sweep more dirt under the rug and are trying very hard to cover up their own tracks. They are too distracted at the moment with protecting themselves, and are presently not fully invested in running the highly sensitive and critical affairs of SDUSD. We might as well say that SDUSD has only one [fully present] trustee at the moment, who happens (thankfully) to be the president of the BOE.

    Having said that, I believe a federal investigation into the affairs of SDUSD will [force] those three to resign [quickly] and clear up the smoke screen that presently envelops SDUSD.

    As much as I personally liked Cindy Marten, and truly saw in her servant leadership qualities that would have augured well for amazing outcomes, for the district's vision for the students and the teachers alike, Ms. Marten has allowed herself to be dragged into the mire by the same people who put her in office. This was very intentional on their part because they needed someone they could control to do their bidding.

    One has to wonder what the "end game" is now . . . Foster boasted that "it was all about the end game."

    We all await that [end game] with bated breaths!!!

    Cornelius Ogunsalu
    Cornelius Ogunsalu

    @Michael Russell @Cornelius Ogunsalu Lots of dirt are swept under the rug at SDUSD and are subjects of pending lawsuits both in state and federal courts . . . I have more information than you realize. I have records subpoenaed for a PERB hearing and I also have a federal lawsuit in the works.

    My claims are backed with information in my possession!

    Also, most importantly, when a school district gets federal funding, and one of the trustees of that school district attempts to STEAL $250,000 for herself and her son (money that is meant for other students) . . . with the knowledge of her fellow trustees, the superintendent and the district's general counsel . . . then a federal investigation is in order, to make sure that it is a one-time occurrence (which I doubt) and that it will never happen again.

    Such investigation will reveal the "dirt under the rug" such as the Foster warrant revealed "dirt under the rug."

    So, Michael Russell do you have answers to your "what" questions?

    Daniel Smiechowski
    Daniel Smiechowski subscriber

    The current four member board must make every effort in seeking and considering the widest net of appointees. Every citizen ought to be held equally worthy and credible. The appointment process must be totally transparent, objective, fair, balanced with the end result being the welfare of our most precious resource that being our children. The campaign to elect Daniel Smiechowski to Unified School Board wishes the San Diego Unified School District the best in this regard. Godspeed! Danny 

    francesca
    francesca subscriber

    "Barrera said it's important to pick the right person, but also to fill the seat quickly."

    Scripps Ranch parents beware.  Do you want the 250 unit apartment house, built on district land?  You showed up in force at the last meeting and said, "NO!"

    Beiser voted no, but with a new member, handpicked by Barrera, similar to the way he handpicked Marne Foster and the very unqualified Cindy Marten, Barrera will have the 4-1 vote required to sell property and the project he's been advocating for.

    Barrera said it's important to get the right person?  Yes, important to him, as he disregards the Scripps Ranch community.

    David
    David subscriber

    @francesca It's' interesting that last week's board agenda stated "superintendent's evaluation" only. This is when only the board members and superintendent are in the room. No attorney to point out violations. I wonder if this is where they discussed the upcoming board member election? Also, the meeting was ten hours after Marne resigns - coincidence, not :)