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Dear Editor – An Open Letter to the School Board

Light-bulb-0003-300x198Perhaps it is only a rumor, and I hope that it is just that, a rumor, but it has come to the attention of the public that the Board may be considering violating one of its own bylaws in the upcoming election of its board president for next year.

As you know, the board is bound by its own set of duly enacted and published bylaws.

Under Board Organization, Board Bylaw BB 9100 (a) is very clear. This bylaw was revised on July 28, 2009, approved by the Board of Education and is published on the district website.

Board Bylaw 9100 (a) states: “The President shall be elected from the pool of Board Members who have served the longest period of time on the Board without ever holding the office of President.”

The word, “shall” takes out any potential ambiguity. Shall, in a legal document–including bylaws, refers to a duty that has to be performed.

If, at any time in the past, a member has been elected board president, that member would have held the office of the President. The Bylaw does not say anything about considering the most current election. It clearly states that the President shall be elected from the pool of Board Members who have served the longest period of time on the board without ever holding the office of President.

Two current board members already have served as President: President Steve Levin and Vice President Paspalis who served as board President in 2015. This would leave the other three members Robins, Kent and Allaire as the only members who have served without ever holding the office of president. But Kelly Kent and Anne Allaire-Burke have served only one year, since 2015. Sue Robins has served since 2013 and obviously is the longest serving members without ever having been elected President of the Board.

There is no provision in Bylaw 9100 (b), or any other Culver City Board of Education bylaw that allows the president to be elected due to the number of votes received in an election or their ballot finish. Additionally, Bylaw 9100 (a) says nothing about having the vice president automatically becoming the new president.

Therefore, legally, Sue Robins should be considered as the only candidate available for the next president of the board.
So, before you break one of your own bylaws–in particular, Board Bylaw 9100 (a)–I strongly urge you to get an opinion from the Board’s legal counsel as to whether the board can legally bypass Board Member Robins as its next president of the Board of Education.

You owe it to the public and to yourselves to check it out.

George Laase

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