TURLOCK — Just a month after her election, Turlock Unified School District board member Lori Crivelli resigned.
Crivelli said potential conflicts of interest between the businesses she and her husband run and the school district led to her decision, announced Tuesday night at a board workshop.
"As I assumed this new leadership position, I asked TUSD's legal counsel to advise me on whether any of my family's business relationships with the school district might create the potential for a conflict of interest in the future," she said in a statement the district issued Wednesday. "After careful consideration, rather than abstaining from some decisions that could appear to be a conflict, I feel it would be in the best interest of Turlock Unified School District and my family if I resign my position as a trustee."
Crivelli runs an insurance office and has several clients who work for the school district; her husband operates a screen-printing business that does work with several local schools.
She said Wednesday that she didn't realize during her campaign that she would have conflict-of-interest problems.
"It's a very complicated section of the law," she said.
Crivelli's resignation is effective immediately; now the board has to decide how to replace her.
New board president Frank Lima said trustees likely will consider the issue at their next meeting.
"I understand it's controlled by statute," he said. "I believe the way it reads is the board will have the choice of calling a special election and the district incurring that cost, or the board will appoint her replacement."
Lima said if the board chooses the second option — which it did in 2005, the last time a trustee left during a term — the district will solicit nominations for the job and interview prospective appointees in a public meeting.
Lima said the board might consider appointing Timm LaVelle, who served on the board since 2001 before finishing just behind Crivelli in the November election.
But Lima pointed out that all the board incumbents lost their bids for re-election.
"The voters spoke. ... Three new people were going to come to the board," he said. "If voters wanted the new person, maybe it's appropriate to open it up."
LaVelle could not be reached Wednesday.
Lima said Crivelli's resignation is a blow to the board, but he admires the way she handled the problem and came to her decision.
"I didn't know her very well before, but I am really saddened that she can't serve," he said. "I tip my hat to her — she would have been an excellent board member."
Superintendent Sonny Da Marto echoed that sentiment.
"We certainly appreciate how difficult this decision was for her, but respect her integrity and obvious concern for the school district by agreeing to step down," he said in a statement. "Her enthusiasm and abilities will be missed."
Bee staff writer Patty Guerra can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2343.