In 2013, Ed Klopfenstein was defeated in a West Ada School District trustee race by Tina Dean, a former teacher who rose to become the board chairman last July.
On Tuesday, West Ada’s school board voted 3-0 to put him in her seat after she was recalled in a May 17 election.
The board chose Klopfenstein from seven applicants in Zone 1, located in the western portion of the school district.
“I was actually looking to run next year” when Dean’s term would have expired, he said.
He said he still is committed to running for election in 2017. It would be wrong to invest the time for one year and then walk away, he said.
Klopfenstein’s appointment — the third by the board since March — leaves trustees with one seat left to fill: Carol Sayles, from Zone 3, also was recalled in May.
Klopfenstein comes to the board as it is replenishing itself following a year of upheaval that led to both resignations and recalls, causing the turnover of four seats.
Much of the controversy was over the board’s handling of former superintendent Linda Clark, who resigned in October after saying she was the victim of a “witch hunt.” Trustees, however, didn’t accept her resignation and terminated her contract in November. She eventually reached a settlement with the district for $160,000.
Klopfenstein said he’s not thinking about what happened the past year on the board.
“My thing is to treat people as though nothing happened,” he said. “My biggest concern is that we have things lingering from the past.”
The most important task he faces is developing relationships, he said.
West Ada trustees must be sure they can provide the resources that students need, Klopfenstein said. “We are in a debt situation and we are going into savings to be able to maintain our general fund,” he said.
West Ada faces a $4 million shortfall in its budget and is relying on a $14 million-a-year property tax levy to help meet its needs.
Trustees have one final round of interviews to select a trustee to fill out the board. They will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday at the district office, 1300 E. Central Dr., Meridian, to interview four candidates for Zone 3.
The four are: Trudy Anderson, a retired Idaho educator; Loraine A. Hand, a former West Ada trustee; Clay B. Hatfield, a teacher and coach in the Wilder School District and former teacher in the West Ada School District; and Steve Smylie, a retired educator and former Republican legislator.
Klopfenstein, who has lived in the district for 13 years, is owner of Visual String, a boutique software development company in Meridian.