The Board of Education will consider selecting a seventh member to fill the seat left vacant by State Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) at its meeting this Thursday.
Ten of the 11 candidates who submitted applications were deemed eligible by the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District — former Santa Monica High School baseball coach Kurt Schwengel would have to quit his teaching job to take the seat — and they will each be given 15 minutes to speak to the board in public.
The term on Allen’s vacant seat expires at the end of 2016.
At least four of the remaining six board members will have to agree on a candidate to fill that seat.
Three of the 10 applicants were losers in November’s election. This includes Ralph Mechur, who served on the board since 2007 and is considered one of the favorites to fill the seat.
Mechur was appointed the first time around and won his first election in 2010. He finished fifth in a race for four seats in November and is seeking another appointment.
Jon Kean, who’s currently the PTA President at Lincoln Middle School and previously served as the PTA President at Roosevelt Elementary, is on that list, as is Tom Larmore, an attorney and former partnerat Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal. In his application Larmore notes that he’s seeking appointment for a number of reasons, including the fact that he supports public education but sees the district losing students to private schools.
Jake Wachtel, who placed eighth out of eight candidates in the 2010 Ed Board race, pulling in just over 6,000 votes, is eligible for the seat. He has served as a PTA President at Grant Elementary and worked previously as a coach and a teacher.
Jennifer deNicola has been one of the most vocal advocates for the removal of PCBs from schools. DeNicola, a Malibu resident, speaks at many of the Ed Board meetings, calling for greater transparency surrounding the environmental and health concerns at Malibu High School.
Larry Droeger, of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, is applying for the open seat because he has two kids currently in the district and one who just graduated from Malibu High School.
David Hays, a Malibu resident, is the parent of two teenage students formerly in the district.
Sion Roy, a member of the Santa Monica Democratic Club’s executive committee, is eligible. He’s a cardiologist at Harbor UCLA and chairs the district’s Health and Safety advisory committee.
Dhun May, who placed seventh out of eight in November’s election, filed for the seat. She received 5,169 votes.
Patty Finer, who placed eighth in November’s election, submitted an application. She pulled in 5,148 votes.
Each candidate will be asked the same four questions and there will be no follow-up questions. This is, according to the district, to ensure impartiality.
They will have two minutes for an opening statement, two minutes for each of the four questions, and time for a “brief closing statement.”
Board members will have five minutes between each candidate to record their own notes.
After the interview process, the public will have a chance to speak and the board will have a chance to deliberate in open session.
Then board members will nominate candidates. Each board member will write his or her choice down on a piece of paper and a district official will read the votes aloud.
“If one of the nominees has received four or more votes, then the board will make a motion, second, and cast a verbal vote to appoint the applicant to fill the vacancy on the board,” district officials said in a report. “If none of the nominees receive four or more votes, the board members will begin the deliberation, nomination, and voting process over until one of the candidates has received four or more votes.”
If no one challenges the appointment through a petition within 30 days, the decision will be considered final.
If the decision were successfully challenged, it would go to a special election, which could cost the district hundreds of thousands or dollars.
The meeting will take place at the district’s administrative offices, at 1651 16th Street in Santa Monica. The public meeting is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday.