West Ada trustee Julie Madsen resigns
The West Ada School District’s board could choose a new trustee as soon as Monday to replace Julie Madsen, a newcomer who resigned Friday night rather than face a recall election.
The majority’s decision was sharply criticized by trustee Mike Vuittonet, who complained that the board is not giving enough time for people to consider applying for the volunteer position, the public to learn about these people, or the board to properly vet them.
The rush toward interviews will leave Vuittonet out of town, and he will have to call in to the Monday night meeting and conduct interviews by phone.
“I am completely opposed to doing something that quickly,” he said.
Supporters of the trustee recall, begun last September over the board’s removal of then-superintendent Linda Clark, said the strategy is part of a plan for the trustees to maintain control over board appointments rather than face voters. Trustees named in the recall petition are Madsen, Russell Joki, Carol Sayles and Tina Dean.
Christine Donnell, co-chair of the recall effort, accused board members of already knowing who they will put on the board. “I think it’s horrible,” she told the Statesman.
Donnell, in a news release sent out shortly after the meeting, said the trustees have lost their credibility.
Trustees moved so quickly to set the trustee-replacement meeting — Monday at 8 p.m. — that they had to adjourn before 8 p.m. Friday so they could post the meeting announcement in time to meet the requirements of the state’s open meetings law.
The other three trustees facing recall will have to decide over the next several days whether to resign or stand for recall, according to Idaho law. If two or more resign, it could hamper the district’s ability to conduct business, said Dean, the chairwoman.
Madsen said she had to make her decision by Friday. Sayles and Joki will make theirs Monday. The five-member board requires three for a quorum to meet and do business, but it must have four members to hold an executive session at which trustees review employees, discuss legal business, or consider sale or purchase of property.
Dean said the recall effort has created this problem.
“This was not my decision,” she said. “This was the decision to recall four board members.”
An application form for trustee was posted on the district’s website Friday night, and copies will be available at the district office when it opens Monday morning. Earlier this month, Dean posted the application form online for a couple of days to see whether there was any interest, she said. Two people responded.
Madsen, who was elected last May to represent Zone 4, said she resigned because a prolonged fight over her recall would be a distraction to the district.
“What’s not best for kids is a long recall process,” she said. “It takes attention from the classroom.”