Mark Box resigns from Menlo Park school board
The superintendent of the Menlo Park City School District is recommending that the school board avoid a costly election and instead appoint a replacement for board member Mark Box, who has announced his resignation, effective June 30.
Mr. Box, whose term ends December 2012, said in his letter of resignation that he and his family plan to move to Barcelona, Spain, for the 2011-12 school year.
Superintendent Ken Ranella said in a letter to the school community that the board has scheduled a special meeting for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 31, to decide whether to call for an election, which would take place in November, or appoint someone to the five-member board.
Among Mr. Ranella's reasons for recommending an appointment is the cost of an election, which he estimates at about $45,000. Also, he said in the letter, "candidates should not be encumbered with running a campaign for a seat that would expire 13 short months later."
Mr. Ranella also noted that it would be wise to have a full school board in place as a new superintendent begins work in July. "A November election would leave a seat vacant for the first few critical months of this transition," he wrote.
Mr. Ranella is retiring at the end of June; Maurice Ghysels was hired last month to replace him.
If the board follows Mr. Ranella's recommendation to appoint Mr. Box's replacement, it will decide on a process for residents of the district to apply for the position, which would be filled again by voters in November 2012.
Mr. Box was elected to the board in 2008, after serving as president of the Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation and as chairperson of the district's 2006 bond campaign.
"Mark leaves big shoes to fill," Mr. Ranella wrote. "He has exemplified both integrity and selflessness in his service. His volunteer contributions to the Menlo Park school district and the community have helped to ensure that our schools continue to provide the best educational experience possible for our students."