Trustees vote not to shrink board

EVANSTON — Efforts to reduce the size of the UCSD No. 1 Board of Trustees came to an end at the Tuesday, Nov. 14, meeting when the board voted down a resolution calling for the creation of a boundary board to reorganize the district and reduce the number of board members from nine to seven. 

The size of the board has been a recurrent discussion item for the past several board meetings, with a special meeting being held in October to discuss the results of a district-wide survey and to allow for public comments. The final survey results showed that out of 270 responses, 51 percent favored the reduction, 41 percent favored keeping the board as is, and 8 percent were undecided. 

Prior to voting, trustee Dave Bennett said he felt that board should vote in line with the survey results and with the public comments shared at the special meeting, when two of three speakers voiced support for the reduction.

Following the voice vote it was unclear whether the ayes or nays had prevailed, so a written vote was taken. Superintendent Ryan Thomas and executive assistant Cheri Dunford counted the votes and reported there were four “yes” and five “no” votes. 

The motion failed and the board moved on to other business until the round table portion of the meeting when Bennett asked for an accounting of the vote of each board member. 

Each trustee then stated which way they had voted. Trustees Jami Brackin, Josh Welling, Tammy Walker and Bennett voted for the resolution; and trustees Kay Fackrell, Kim Bateman, Jenny Welling, Kerby Barker and chair Cassie Torres voted against. 

In other business, the board heard a request from Evanston Middle School teacher Amy Velasquez for the approval of an overnight field trip in March for challenge Spanish students from both middle schools to attend the University of Wyoming World Languages Day and competition. Velasquez said, “These kids are the cream of the crop,” and in prior years they have done very well competing. 

The board approved a change to the board meeting schedule for the remainder of the 2017-2018 school year. Going forward, the board will meet at 6 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month, and will have a work session when needed at 6 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday. A public hearing on school security is already scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, January 30, 2018. 

Thomas also presented Torres with a “Master School Board Member” certification from the Wyoming School Board Association, which Torres earned by completing multiple board training opportunities. 

Finally, during the round table portion, Fackrell, Bennett and Thomas all shared their appreciation for the numerous Veterans Day ceremonies held at Evanston schools earlier in the week. 

Thomas said the ceremonies at North Elementary, Davis Middle School and Evanston High School were all very impressive. “I am so proud of our students,” he said.

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