The Castaic Union School District called for a special meeting of its governing board Thursday in order to approve a process that will allow the district to fill the vacancy created by board President John Richard’s recent resignation.
Richard announced last week he was resigning, effective June 2, as he and his family are moving to the East Coast, where he plans to take a “new pastoring job,” according to a letter included with the board’s agenda.
Richard was elected in November, so the board has 60 days to appoint a replacement for Area D on the district’s trustee map, according to the meeting’s agenda. Area D is largely the eastern and southeastern portions of the Castaic district’s boundaries.
That appointment would hold the office until the seat could be placed on the ballot for the November 2024 general election.
“We will miss you all very much, as will our children … eight of our nine children have been a part of this school district for the past 17 years,” Richard wrote in his letter. “As we move to Virginia where I will start my new pastoring job, we will anticipate hearing great things that are happening within the school district.”
Recently appointed Superintendent Bob Brauneisen, whose contract negotiations are listed on the meeting’s closed session agenda, explained the timeline for the decision in an email to The Signal, following an inadvertently premature announcement Monday that the board was holding interviews for an already-approved appointment process.
Board members first broached the topic of making an appointment in closed session May 11, after Brauneisen consulted with the county’s Office of Education, he wrote.
“Although there was no vote, I understood the board member comments to express strong interest in exploring provisional appointment of a new member,” he added, “in light of the high cost to our district of a special election.”
Also recognizing “a short timeline to this process,” the district posted information about the appointment process Monday and reported that the decision had been made in the May 11 closed session. Later, district officials said that was incorrect, and no vote had occurred in the closed session.
“Upon inquiry, we realized that the information we received and relied upon was incomplete, and immediately removed the information posted about a provisional appointment,” Brauneisen stated. “We are now aware that this is an item that must be agendized for board discussion and possible action in open session.”
Stating the district regretted its “inadvertent error,” Brauneisen also noted there will be a chance for the public to comment “prior to board consideration of any substantive agenda item,” in his email.
“Moving forward,” he wrote, “if the board determines to proceed with a provisional appointment, we will consult with legal counsel as to the appropriate term and the provisional appointment process. Further board discussions, whether about provisional appointment or a special election, will be agendized for and discussed in an open session.”