Education

Merced high school board member steps down. Here’s how you could apply for his seat

A spot on the Merced Union High School District Board of Trustees opened up after board member John Medearis stepped down last week.

Medearis, 59, said he was moving out of state and couldn’t continue serving the district.

“My wife and I have been talking long-term retirement plans,” Medearis said, adding he wouldn’t have left the board before his term ends in 2020 if his retirement plans didn’t work out.

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Board members Julio Valadez (left) and John Medearis speak at the Jan. 9, 2019 Merced Union High School District school board meeting. Board members were discussing whether to suspend an initiative creating a school board member so the newly elected members can have their say. Vikaas Shanker vshanker@mercedsunstar.com

“I’m hoping (my replacement) will challenge the board and not just go with the flow,” Medearis said.

Medearis has been an advocate of the recent #MErcedTOO sexual harassment and violence awareness that has spread on campus since Golden Valley High teacher Annie Delgado publicly said her substantiated sexual harassment claims against celebrated high school boys basketball coach Keith Hunter were ignored.

Medearis also has been an advocate of increasing student voice and input into the administration’s decision making.

The Merced Union High School District Board at a special meeting Monday night decided to appoint a new interim board member through an application and interview process, officials said.

The board could have opted to have a special election, but the district would have had to pay the Merced County Office of Elections for expenses incurred.

Anyone interested in serving on the board is being encouraged to apply. The requirements include being 18 years old or older, living in Area 4 and being a California citizen and being a registered voter.

Filled applications, found online or at the district office at 3430 A St., in Atwater, can be mailed to: MUHSD, PO Box 2147, Merced, CA 95344, attention to Superintendent Alan Peterson. The school district must receive the application by 5 p.m. Nov. 4.

Anyone with questions is being encouraged to call Administrative assistant Leslie Rohrback at 209-325-2020.

Vikaas Shanker is an award-winning reporter covering education, crime and courts for the Merced Sun-Star and Los Banos Enterprise. After growing up in Naperville, Illinois and graduating from the University of Kansas, he reported in several Chicago suburbs before moving to Merced County in 2016.
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