Turlock schools to appoint trustee

In the end, the choice was easy to make:

Spend as much as $100,000 for a special election, or appoint a new trustee for less than $500.

The Turlock Unified School District board of trustees Tuesday night unanimously voted for the appointment process to replace Lori Crivelli, who resigned shortly after her election.

Trustee John Sims said that, in a perfect world, he'd prefer to "let the political process work, and let the voters have their say." And a special election would prevent the seven-member board from having five seats expire in 2011: Anyone appointed to the board would serve only until the next regular election.

"But I don't think those two reasons offset the costs," Sims said. "Those are powerful arguments, but not in this environment."

Some in the audience urged the board to appoint former board member Timm LaVelle, who came in fourth in the November election.

Parent Tanya Abrams said she didn't vote for LaVelle but that choosing him would follow the will of the voters.

"To open it up to just whoever, personally to me it mocks the system," she said.

Prospective trustees have until 5 p.m. Jan. 21 to apply. A screening committee will select candidates to interview Jan. 26; those interviews will be conducted at a public meeting Feb. 1.

The board plans to decide whom to appoint at that meeting, and the new trustee would be sworn in the following day, Superintendent Sonny DaMarto said.

In other action, the board delayed an agreement with an inspector for the Joe Debely Stadium improvement project. Attorney Richard Harriman, who represents a group of residents suing the city of Turlock and the school district over the project, which is funded with $2.8 million in city redevelopment money, asked the board to delay the action until after he meets with district representatives on the lawsuit. That meeting is scheduled Thursday.