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Selection of new chairman for District 93 School Board raises concern by some

There were a couple of things that raised some concerns about today’s selection of the new school board president.

Hardly anyone was in attendance because the meeting was called for 9:45 this morning, and there were only four rather than five board members since McBrides vacant seat had not yet been filled.

Vice-chairman Paul Jenkins voted against Bird to be chairman.
At the beginning of the meeting Jenkins told the board he was concerned the meeting was held at a time when the public could not be there. He said most major decisions are made at evening meetings. Jenkins said he was worried about transparency on the board.

Local News 8 also reached out to former board chairman Brian McBride who said he was concerned about how quickly this action was taken filling his spot, before a fifth board member could be named to replace him.

“A concern of mine, I would have like to seen constituents members in my zone to be represented when they made some changes to the board leadership, but that wasn’t the case and so a little concerning to me, but then again the board is going to move forward the best to conduct things and I will support where they’re going,” McBride said.

New board chairman Jeff Bird is no stranger to controversy. He opposed the first three bond attempts to build the new high school.

At that time, Superintendent Chuck Shackett blamed Bird for the failure of the first bond that lost by only 17 votes, and questioned the appropriateness of a school board member publicly opposing a measure the board supported.

One school board member who voted for Bird today said she heard from constituents who did not like her vote.

“Doesn’t matter if its political pressure from the school district or from outside sources I’ve always voted the way I felt I needed too,” Amy Landers said. “And just because rumor has gotten out about the vote today that we had I have received some emails and a threat that I would be unseated if I were to vote Jeff in today.”

Jeff Bird talked about his vision for dealing with growth in the district.

“We have a committee right now that is looking at elementary schools, but we are interested in steering that committee in the possibility of a middle school to see if that will solve our over crowding in both secondary and elementary areas,” Bird said.

Local News 8 talked with Superintendent Chuck Shackett about the vote this morning. He said he was surprised at how quickly it happened, and was not sure why a couple board members wanted to hold this election at a morning meeting with only 24 hours notice. But he said he will support Jeff Bird and the board.

We also reached out to board member Greg Calder who voted for Bird. Calder did not agree with charges the board acted hastily. He said district policy that says when a board chairman position is vacant, the board should immediately chose a new one.

The board will be accepting letters of interest for a fifth member to fill the vacancy until 3p.m. January 24.

Following is a link to the June 10, 2015 story about Bird’s opposition to the bond and calls for his resignation.

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