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School Board Elects New President, Delays Action on School Rebuild Plans

The Albany school board passed the President gavel to Vice President Jonathan Knight tonight. Board member Allan Maris was elected Vice President. A vote on architect contracts for rebuilding Marin and Ocean View schools was postponed.

The Albany school board elected Jonathan Knight as its new President and Allan Maris as its new Vice President at the Dec. 10, 2013 meeting. Photo: screen grab from KALB video broadcast of the meeting
The Albany school board elected Jonathan Knight as its new President and Allan Maris as its new Vice President at the Dec. 10, 2013 meeting. Photo: screen grab from KALB video broadcast of the meeting
The Albany school board tonight, Tuesday, unanimously elected current board Vice President Jonathan Knight as its new president.

The board also voted 4-1 to name Allan Maris as the new vice president.

At the same meeting, the board postponed an agenda item on okaying $2.8 million in architectural contracts for replacing seismically deficient Marin and Ocean View elementary schools.

Superintendent Marla Stephenson had recommended that the board waive the RFP (Request for Proposals) process and go forward with contracts for architectural services from WLC Architects, which has already been working with the district on its overall Facilities Master Plan, including options for addressing the seismic problems at Marin and Ocean View.

But at tonight's meeting, she requested that consideration of the contracts be postponed until the board's Dec. 19 meeting, outgoing board President Paul Black announced at the beginning of the board meeting.

Stephenson "feels we need to make sure that we followed all the proper procedures before we vote on those, specifically whether it's required to go out and do an RFP for an architect," Black said.

In other action, the board also agreed to consider whether to submit a measure to voters to ask permission to use remaining funds from Measure E (the pool project) to pay for replacing out-of-code MacGregor High School with "portable" classrooms. There is some uncertainty about the whether Measure E as presently written would allow such use.

The MacGregor possibilities include demolishing the school building and leaving the site vacant for a year, except for the three portables that are on the site and do not have the same code deficiencies as the main building, Stephenson said. 

In the election for the new board Vice President, the dissenting vote was cast by Black. Black that although Maris "is highly qualified to be Vice President," choosing him would risk a break in continuity on the board.

Black said the terms of three board members, including Maris, are expiring at the end of next year, while the district also will have a new Superintendent, and that he felt it is "very important to have some continuity in the officers. So I'd like to be sure that the Vice President is someone who is guaranteed to still be here the following year."

Correction/clarification: The original version of this article said the board will consider a possible new bond measure to pay for portables to replace MacGregor High School. The possible ballot measure would ask voters permission to use remaining funds from an existing bond measure already passed by voters, Measure E. 

Published Dec. 10, 2013, 9:27 p.m.; updated Dec. 11, 11:34 a.m.

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Marsha Skinner December 11, 2013 at 03:01 PM
If the Board officers had changed a year ago, this continuity problem could have been avoided. The recent Board President and VP served for two years, not one. Knight should have moved into the Board President job a year ago, with someone then serving as VP , who would be ready to be Board President now. The normal pattern in the "olden days" was for the top vote getter in the past election to move into the VP slot . Thus, you have someone whose term has begun recently, ready to be Board President.
Brian Parsley December 11, 2013 at 08:16 PM
I found that strange as well considering at the November 26 meeting both Member Low and Member Rosenbaum stated they were not currently interested in assuming either the office of the President or Vice President of the Board.

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