At its regular meeting Wednesday, Oct. 3, the Three Rivers Union School board of trustees moved decisively to fill two upcoming vacancies. Since no candidates filed to officially run for the vacant seats in the November. 6 election, the board exercised its authority to call for applicants and make the appointments.
Four qualified residents — David Karplus, Erin Leedy, Peter Mestaz, and Anne Pfaff — submitted application packages to be considered for the two vacancies. Of the four, three were nominated: Karplus, Mestaz, and Pfaff.
Pfaff was appointed on the first ballot; Peter Mestaz on the second, filling the two vacant seats. The vacancies were created when incumbents Scott Sherwood and George Kulick chose not to seek another term.
The action of voting on the candidates was unprecedented, according to Sue Sherwood, TRUS superintendent. Sherwood said she cannot recall a board vote on prospective appointees in her 28 years at Three Rivers School.
Trustee Scott Sherwood said it was a bit awkward with each of the applicants in attendance:
“All of the application packages were well thought out and articulated by each of the candidates,” Sherwood said. “Each displayed a care for the kids and a desire to be involved.”
The two new board members will be sworn in and officially take their seats at the regular December board meeting. When queried as to why they applied, the two newest board members, Pfaff, 53, and Mestaz, 38, submitted the following statements.
“I believe that our public schools are the keystone of any community so it’s been an important piece of who I am to volunteer for our schools since my oldest child entered kindergarten 15 years ago,” Pfaff said. “Now that my kids are in college, I feel that I am ready to offer an experienced and unbiased viewpoint to the TRUS board.”
Pfaff said she will explore different options to improve communication with the community. She said everyone needs to know what items are on the agenda of upcoming meetings and have access to the minutes of what was discussed afterward.
“I am a proud graduate of TRUS along with 10 of my family members,” Mestaz explained. “We all cherish the enriching and high-quality education that TRUS offered, and I want to see that continue for the children of this community, including my own.”
Mestaz also said there is a “perceived lack of transparency” in how the school board operates and makes decisions. He wants to work to eliminate that perception by encouraging community members, parents, and even students to become more engaged in the decision-making process.
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In other board-related business, there was discussion about a lack of policy as to how the current youth soccer league should compensate the school for use of the facilities. That item will be revisited at a future meeting when better cost estimates of lights and maintenance become available.
The Three Rivers School Foundation fundraiser on Sunday, Sept. 30, was a success, Sue Sherwood reported. She said that 198 dinner tickets were sold and that was near an all-time record. Sherwood also reported that the net proceeds of the event have not yet been tallied.
In addition, the results of the recently conducted student council elections were also announced: Joey Huntington, President (7th grade); Peyton Davis, Vice President (8th grade); Sierra Sherwood, Treasurer (7th grade); Hope Harrelson, Secretary (7th grade); and Sunora Welch, Historian (6th grade).