As many of you know, Terilyn Finders has served on the Board of Education in the Las Virgenes Unified School District for the past 9 years. On Tuesday, Mrs. Finders announced that she will be resigning effective December 31, 2008.

The Board will now have to decide whether to appoint a replacement (a process designed to enable filling positions for shorter terms), or hold another election (estimated cost of $60-100,000).

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Mrs. Finders has accepted a position as the Director of Communications with Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP, where she will oversee client outreach and communications. This law firm is “committed to redefine education law by working with District to use the law in a preventative manner.” In Mrs. Finders words, “I could not let this career opportunity pass by.”

Given the services that Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost provides, and the areas it focuses on, it’s a conflict of interest issue if Finders were to continue serving on the Board.

While a Board seat can remain open for a period of time, it is too long a period of between now and the next election to leave the seat vacant. The Board now has two choices: run another election, or appoint an interim board member (a process which is designed to enable filling positions for shorter terms).

If there are other elections going on, like the ones we just completed earlier this month, the cost of an election is less than having an election on its own. Even so, with LVUSD being in two counties, and covering four cities, an election could cost $60,000 to $100,000 or more.

The Board of Education will need to consider the benefits of electing a new member against the cost. This against the backdrop of the Governor recently announcing further deep education budget cuts coming in the next couple of months. This and other issues will be discussed at upcoming Board of Education meetings.