The Wiliam S. Hart Union High School District governing board is planning to interview candidates next month for a vacancy created by board member James Webb’s resignation.
The district announced Webb was stepping down as of May 2 in a news release issued last month.
Webb represented the easternmost trustee area, which incorporates parts of Canyon Country, Sand Canyon and parts directly north and south of both those communities. Known as Trustee Area 4, its boundaries include the attendance areas for Sierra Vista Junior High School and Canyon High School.
Of the decision to appoint, board member Joe Messina said it was the logical choice, especially after the board placed a call to the L.A. County registrar and learned the cost of being the only host for a special election in the coming months.
“It’s about a 14-month replacement,” Messina said, noting the term for Webb would have ended in 2024, and the person they appoint is likely to take the seat in July, after the interview process.
“It’s going to be over $200,000 to have an election and then you would have another election 12 months later — that’s not being wise with the taxpayers’ dollars,” he said. He added that anyone unhappy with the board’s decision has the option to run in about a year.
The board voted unanimously Wednesday to approve the following timeline for the interview process, for which there are applications available on the district’s website: The deadline for applications is June 15; on June 21, qualified applicants will be notified in writing of the date/time of the interview and the process (which includes the guidelines and questions); on June 28, the board will conduct interviews in public at a special meeting, when the board will also choose its preferred candidate; and on July 19, the board will swear in its newest member.
Board member Linda Storli, who originally joined the board in 2015, said she understands the political ramifications of an appointment.
The potential “edge up” an appointee might have in 2024 definitely registered with the former teacher of government and politics and made the decision tougher for her — “but a quarter of a million dollars can go a long way to do some pretty amazing things in schools.”
Board member Cherise Moore, who attended the meeting virtually, was also a previous board appointee. She was appointed in 2017, then elected in 2018 and reelected for her second full term in 2022.
Webb said in the April 20 release that his decision to step down was motivated by a need to spend more time with his family, noting obligations at home, including the need to help care for elderly parents, had become pressing.
“This has been a difficult decision given my ongoing commitment to the important work that is happening in the Hart district. I’m proud of the Hart district and what we’ve accomplished together,” Webb previously stated.
All applications must be signed and submitted at the Hart District Administrative Office, 21380 Centre Pointe Parkway, Santa Clarita, or by email to [email protected] before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 15. Late applications, including postmarks, will not be accepted.