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7:14 PM Fri, Nov. 16th

PUSD governing board looks to fill 2 vacancies

Prescott Mayor Greg Mengarelli has been doing double-duty with the Prescott Unified School District since his election in November, but come this November he will be focused solely on city business.

Mengarelli said he will not run for a new, four-year term, leaving a vacancy to be filled by someone else in the community.

Likewise, his board colleague Maureen Erickson, a retired educator who has now served two, four-year terms, will not be seeking a third, four-year term. Erickson has been part of substantial changes and challenges in the district, including the closing of two historic elementary schools, a reorganization of the district, the hiring of new top leadership, passing a $15 million bond and $6 million override in 2015 and the sale of two of three school district properties. She and Mengarelli were part of the board honored last year by the Arizona School Board Association with the Lou Ella Kleinz Award, the association’s top school board honor.

Mengarelli said he has found his time on the board to be “very gratifying” and hopes that whoever runs for these two vacant seats will be able to compliment a “high-functioning” board and administration that are working hard to offer the right kinds of programs, technology, facilities and opportunities for this community’s students.

“I think it has to be someone who is very passionate about education,” Mengarelli said of potential candidates on the day the Yavapai County Education Service Agency made available packets for prospective school board members across the county.

Candidate packets can be picked up at the county office at 2970 Centerpointe East Drive in Prescott between now and Aug. 7 during the 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. business hours. The deadline for filing candidate petitions – the numbers are delineated in each packet – is between July 9 and end of business day August 8. Election supervisor Jenn Nelson recommends candidates make appointments because she has to verify all the petitions for each office.

Anyone who opts to serve is taking on an “extremely important leadership role in our community,” said Mengarelli of the position he said he found to be “everything he expected and more.”

Mengarelli, the executive director of a local Christian camp and parent of nine biological, adopted and foster children, said he is grateful to have been able to play such a role.

“I think it helps if they have either been a teacher, or worked in the schools, who have or recently had children in the school district,” Mengarelli said.

New Prescott Governing Board members will be joining a team of veteran community leaders who have built a strong rapport with a praise-worthy district administration, he said. With a steady cry for increased state funding for education, Mengarelli said that working relationship is key to “accomplish the goals we need to accomplish.”

In the Humboldt Unified School District, there will be three openings, one for a two-year seat held by incumbent Ryan Gray who was appointed last year to the position and two, two-year seats now held by appointed incumbents Suzi Roth and Dina Battaglia.

Chino Valley Unified School District has two four-year seats in the election now held by incumbent Governing Board President Penny Hubble and Vice-President Cyndi Thomas.

“I’m hoping to continue serving our community in this way for a full-term beginning next year and I’m looking forward to the local election process,” Gray said.

Roth, too, said she intends to seek re-election.

Messages for the other incumbents in HUSD and Chino Valley were not returned as of Tuesday afternoon. Candidates interested in the Prescott vacancies will need to collect a minimum of 202 signatures; in Humboldt the number is 165 and in Chino Valley it is 67, Nelson said.

To date, Nelson said she has not been notified of any special elections, such as bonds and overrides, but districts have through the end of July to schedule those. All open Governing Board seats are listed in the election services section on the YCESA website: www.ycesa.com

For any other county schools election information, contact Nelson at 928-422-5138.Yard waste collected free at county transfer stations.