District 51 board told it has until July 31 to fill Butler vacancy

A new member of the District 51 School Board likely will be appointed by the end of July.

David Dodero, an attorney with Hoskin Farina & Kampf, advised the four remaining school board members at a work session Tuesday night that state statute requires they appoint a replacement for Harry Butler by July 31.

Butler died June 2, marking the start of a vacancy on the board, according to Dodero. Statute requires the board to fill the vacancy within 60 days. If the board cannot decide whom to appoint to the vacant seat by the 60-day deadline, Board President Greg Mikolai has some time to deliberate and make the appointment himself.

The board will officially declare the vacancy at its business meeting at 6 p.m. this coming Tuesday at the Basil T. Knight Center. Once the board members pass a resolution announcing the vacancy, they can begin to accept applications for the seat. Anyone interested must be a registered voter who has lived within District 51 boundaries for at least one year, has not been convicted of a sexual offense against a child and lives in District C, which Butler represented. The district mainly encompass parts of central-eastern and northern-central Grand Junction.

Board members decided Tuesday to tentatively accept applications through July 23 and have a meeting to determine who should be appointed July 30. Board members said they would prefer applicants submit a resume, a letter of intent and an affidavit showing they meet the legal qualifications to hold a board seat.

State statute does not specify how school districts should handle appointing a new board member. Dodero suggested board members interview candidates in open session and vote on a winner. Mikolai suggested the board narrow the number of candidates before interviews if they receive several applications. Board Vice President Leslie Kiesler said the school board that appointed her to a vacant seat 10 years ago narrowed the list of applicants to five, then conducted interviews and voted to appoint her.

Whoever is appointed to Butler’s seat will serve through the end of what would have been his second term, which is up in November. An election for School Board Districts C, D, and E will take place Nov. 5.


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