Education

Looking for a new School Board Member

Board to Appoint New Member on Bond Election Eve

The Luther School Board is expected to interview applicants for a vacant school board seat at its September 9, 2019, meeting. The vacancy was created when former board member CJ Cavin moved out of the district earlier this month.

Cavin was first appointed to the school board in 2017 to fill the unexpired term of Charles DeFuria who resigned from his position. Cavin then filed for election in 2018, and drew no challenger and served until he and his family moved out of the school district. His wife, Paxton Cavin, resigned from her elected position on the Town Board of Trustees in June.

Superintendent Barry Gunn read Cavin’s resignation letter during the school board’s regular August meeting. Cavin provided a copy of the letter to the Luther Register upon request. Cavin noted noted that “the letter was purely a courtesy to the school district. My resignation was effective when I was no longer a resident of the district, which was a few days prior to the meeting.”

In the letter, Cavin said he loved serving the community and counted as his accomplishments: transparency, an improved online experience on the district’s website, and being part of a board that valued “cooperation over division.” Cavin joined the board as the school district’s administration was transitioning with a new superintendent, and following a period of severe cuts and budget shortfalls that led to an investigative audit that was called for by citizens of the district.

CJ Cavin

Cavin wrote, “Our District’s future is bright, but our community will need to continue to improve to keep up with changing educational trends. The division in our community is rampant and often based on half-truths, or even outright lies. I challenge the community to do your own research and ask questions before trusting what you read online.”

Here is the full letter.

CJ Cavin’s school board resignation letter.

State law allows the remaining four board members to appoint a new board member who will serve until the next school board election. Filing for the next school board election is in December for the board seat currently held by Ray Stanfield. If there are more than two candidates for each office, the election will be held in February 2020; but if there are only two candidates for each office, the election will be in April, 2020.

Superintendent Barry Gunn said appointing a new board member, within 60 days of Cavin’s resignation, would save the district money to avoid calling a special election until the next regular school board election. Interested and qualified school district residents should contact Gunn’s office to learn how to apply. Remaining board members are: Sherri Anderson, president; Tony Rumpl, vice president; Steve Broudy, clerk, and Ray Stanfield, member. This same group of board members appointed Cavin in 2017, selecting him from four candidates who applied. The board interviewed the four candidates individually during executive session, and deliberated, also in closed session, for more than an hour before selecting Cavin.

REQUIREMENTS FOR MEMBERS OF A BOARD OF EDUCATION. 
To be eligible to be a candidate for member of the board of education of a school district or technology center school district, a person must have resided in the district or, if the board seat is in an independent district, have resided in that district for at least six (6) months preceding the first day of the filing period, and have been a registered voter registered with the county election board at an address located within the geographical boundaries of the district for six (6) months preceding the first day of the filing period. Beginning May 1, 1990, no person shall be eligible to be a candidate for or elected to be a member of the board of education of a school district or technology center school district unless the person has been awarded a high school diploma or certificate of high school equivalency. In school districts that are divided into election districts, a candidate must have resided in the district for at least six (6) months preceding the first day of the filing period and have been a registered voter registered with the county election board at an address located within the geographical boundaries of the election district for six (6) months preceding the first day of the filing period. Beginning May 1, 1990, no person shall be eligible to be a candidate for or elected to be a member of the board of education unless the person has been awarded a high school diploma or certificate of high school equivalency.

The next board meeting is September 9, 2019, on the eve of a school bond election for the Luther Public School District. Voters are asked to approve a $25 million proposal to make school district improvements including a new library/tornado saferoom in the elementary school, cafeteria safe/room for the middle school and a basketball gym.  A similar proposal that voters were asked to pay for through a hike in property taxes failed earlier this year. 

The district will hold one more community information meeting before the bond election. The information meeting will be on September 5 at 7 pm at the High School Commons. There have been three other meetings that were held in July, and earlier this month. “I told them our kids deserve it,” Gunn said at the August school board meeting.

“I’ve become quite a bond nerd! I can’t think of one thing we could do differently. If it doesn’t pass, I won’t know what to do next,” said Gunn at the meeting.

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