Trustees lay out process and decide they’ll appointment someone
to fill vacant seat
Gilroy – The Gilroy Unified School District Board rejected the option of holding an election and instead unanimously approved a resolution to make an appointment to fill the seat vacated by the late TJ Owens.
Owens died Oct. 17 after suffering a massive stroke.
The board members made their decision at Thursday’s board meeting after listening to a short briefing from GUSD Superintendent Edwin Diaz.
Because there is a year left on Owens’ term, the board does not have the option of leaving the seat open, said Diaz. The board can only make that selection if there is less than four months before the end of the board members term, according to California Education Code.
Diaz looked into the cost of a special election and told the board that the $250,000 price tag was way too high. The superintendent said he recommended an appointment.
“It seems like the logical thing to do,” he said.
Trustees Rhoda Bress, Tom Bundros and Jaime Rosso volunteered to sit on the subcommittee which will determine the process required to fill the vacancy and develop a specific timeline. The board must fill the seat within 60 days.
Candidates interested in submitting an application must reside within the district and be registered voters. The candidate cannot be employed by the GUSD. Whoever is selected to fill the seat will serve on the board until December 2006.
Once board members hinted at appointing an experienced candidate, rumors began flying throughout Gilroy regarding potential candidates. Some locals suspect that former board member Bob Kraemer is eyeing the seat.
Trustee Jim Rogers, who is good friends with Kraemer, was one of the board members who said experience is a key element for Owens’ successor.
On Friday afternoon Kraemer, who served on the board for five years, refused to say whether he would throw his hat in the ring.
“I really want to see all the information before I come to a conclusion,” he said.
John Gurich is another potential candidate. Two locals wrote letters to the Dispatch saying the former board member, is the right man for the job. Gurich served on the board for four years and came in fourth in the last election, right behind Jaime Rosso.
When reached by phone Friday, the longtime high school teacher and football coach said he was “definitely interested” in applying for the position.
“I only lost by about 60 votes,” he said. “I ran a good race. I was up against stiff competition.”
Two board members e-mailed Gurich this week and said they would like to see his name on the roster.
“I still have some things that I can contribute to the board and to Gilroy,” he said.