Thursday, February 9, 2012

South San Francisco School Board Trustee absent 1 year

San Mateo Daily Journal/Heather Murtaugh, 2/9/12. "School board to decide on further trustee's absence."

"How long should an elected official be excused from his or her post? It’s a question going before officials in the South San Francisco Unified School District Board of Trustees this week. Shirlee Hoch, first elected in 1990, took a leave of absence last year starting in August for medical reasons. On Thursday, the board will discuss extending that excused absence through June. Doing so leaves a board often faced with split votes without a tie breaker for nearly a year.

Sick? Time to send a goodbye card.
Hoch said she remains active by talking to the superintendent, board president and community when possible. She is currently recovering from medical problems requiring her to focus on her health at the moment. "If and when I feel I can’t contribute to the board, I would consider resigning,” Hoch said. Trustees seem supportive of giving Hoch time to recover.

 “There are five positions on a board for a reason,” said Trustee Phil Weise, noting the extra vote breaks ties. Without it, the board runs less effectively. At the same time, Weise recognized voters have a right to be represented by the person who they supported and he wished Hoch well. Both board President Judy Bush and Trustee Maurice Goodman have no issue with the absence. Goodman pointed to Hoch’s history of service as a reason to allow the absence. Bush agreed and added she wasn’t concerned about working with a four-member board. She also thought the timeline granted would be longer than Hoch would need.

South San Francisco’s policy allows for trustees to be excused. In the bylaw cited for the resolution going before the board Thursday, there is no limitation for such excuse. Other rules discussing reasons that could cause a vacancy allow for up to a year for someone called to serve in the military. There is no time limit when it comes to medical reasons. One consideration is experience. Hoch has been on the board since 1990, something that can be a benefit.

“Shirlee Hoch is a great asset to SSFUSD and our community. Shirlee has shown unstinting dedication to the welfare of our students. Her expertise in analyzing our school district’s budgets has provided invaluable oversight on the public’s behalf,” said Jolene Malfatti, California School Employees Association president for the district. The board meets 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9 at the Municipal Services Building, 33 Arroyo Drive, South San Francisco."

Reference South San Francisco School Board.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

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