Pleasant Ridge dilemma hangs on 107-year-old case
A south Nevada County school board will hear from its legal counsel tonight that a nonresident elected to the board meets the legal requirements to serve as a trustee, but they won’t decide whether to seat him.
Late in election season, officials discovered that while Jay Betz’ address is in the Pleasant Ridge Union School District, his house is in the Clear Creek School District.
Betz, who ran with two other candidates, Carol Brady and Liz Rhodes, as the “Education Team,” finished second among seven candidates seeking three board seats.
In a two-page letter dated Nov. 15, Leslie Miessner, Pleasant Ridge’s outside legal counsel, wrote that according to the state Education Code, Betz is not eligible to serve as a board member.
But according to a 107-year-old case, Betz may serve as a de facto officer if he proceeds to take office and serve as a member, Miessner wrote in the letter’s conclusion.
A member of the public could petition the state Attorney General to challenge Betz’ eligibility to serve as a board member, Miessner wrote.
James Meshwert, the district’s superintendent, said he was interested in finding out from the legal counsel whether the district would be liable if it allowed Betz to take office. The potential liability to the district is negligible, Miessner wrote.
Betz, Brady and Rhodes formed a special committee in August called the “Education Team Committee,” and spent $4,180.27 for the election.
Betz could not be reached for comment.
JoAnn Bothwell, who lost her bid to be on the board, said she had mixed feelings but really didn’t think Betz should serve.
Gary Clarke, who trailed Brady for fourth place, said people might think he was the logical choice to challenge Betz’ candidacy, but that he hoped to avoid the cost of a special election.
“I’ll think it over after tomorrow night’s presentation,” Clarke said.
If Betz does not take office, the school board may appoint someone. Trustees are expected to be seated on Dec. 10.
The county clerk-recorder has until Dec. 5 to certify election results.
KNOW & GO
WHAT:Pleasant Ridge Union School District board of trustees meeting to discuss whether Jay Betz can take a trustee seat even if he doesn1t live in the district. They will not take action.
WHEN: 7 p.m. today
WHERE: James W. Meshwert Building, 22580 Kingston Lane, Grass Valley (near Lake of the Pines)
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