Katis quits high school board
Jon Katis has resigned from the Nevada Joint Union High School District board, six years after being elected on a pledge to complete construction of Bear River High School’s campus.
Katis, 58, is moving out of his elected district, from his Lake of the Pines-area home to a house within the Grass Valley city limits. Superintendent Maggie Deetz received his resignation in an e-mail Tuesday. His resignation is effective Sept. 22.
Katis’ resignation ends an occasionally turbulent stint on the board.
South county residents came out strong for Measure A, the $15 million school bond passed in 2002, and the success was credited in large part to Katis’ diligence.
But many of the same voters questioned his ethics after Katis pleaded guilty in 2003 to one charge of diverting money from his employees’ retirement funds while he ran a Grass Valley medical supply company.
Katis was ordered to pay a $25 fine, as well as $1,500 in restitution, and serve three years of probation as a result of his guilty plea.
At least one board member, Katis said, believed he should have resigned, and several south county voters expressed similar opinions.
A group of parents, teachers and community leaders last year drafted a nonbinding document that in part asked future board members to keep a pledge to be law-abiding and ethical if elected to the high school board.
“It was embarrassing for me,” Katis said. He never considered resigning, he said, and no serious effort to replace him emerged.
Serving on the board gave Katis the chance to be actively involved in his three daughters’ education and to work on the completion of Bear River, he said.
“That’s been my main goal. I feel really good about what we’ve been able to accomplish,” he said.
Trustees are working on $7 million in improvements to Bear River that include a 25-yard lap pool and a performing arts center. The Bear River library was completed during Katis’ time on the board.
Katis said he felt fortunate to be part of a board that hired Deetz last fall to replace Joe Boeckx, who retired.
“I hang my hat on Maggie,” he said. “She’s as solid as they come.”
Katis’ resignation means the board will have a majority of new faces in 2005. Trustees Diane Correll and Charlie Compton are not seeking re-election.
Applications for Katis’ seat will be available at the district office and at Bear River High School beginning Oct. 4 and are due to the district three weeks later. Deetz has tentatively set a Nov. 10 meeting to interview all applicants for the position.
Don Herrmann, an Alta Sierra resident who has followed the high school district for years, said he believes Katis did a credible job representing his constituents, despite his misstep.
“I know that happens to be the minority opinion, but I happen to think he’s a pretty straight arrow,” said Herrmann, who worked in a similar industry managing retirement accounts. “When the dust finally settled, he stiffed nobody but himself.”
Anthony Halby, a longtime Nevada Union parent, agreed.
“I don’t think (Katis’ actions) compromised the board. If anybody would have an argument, it would be up to his constituents to replace him. From what I’ve learned, I think he did a good job.”
Until this season, Katis served as Bear River’s girls water polo coach and was a frequent volunteer at the school.
“What he has contributed will be seen and used,” Correll said.
Katis plans to be active in the Bear River community and said he will still push for the completion of the high school.
“It has to happen, because that’s what the voters approved.”
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