The tail-end of a three hour December Luther Public Schools Board Meeting, a meeting that brought the defeat of the four-day school week with a vote of two-to-two, brought discussion on what to do with the empty board seat.
Former Board Chairman Aaron Bachhofer promptly resigned from the board the day after the contentious November regular meeting. Requests from this newspaper to see his resignation letter were denied until the remaining board members would take action on the resignation last night. And attempts to get a comment from Dr. Bachhofer, associate dean in the Social Sciences Division at Rose State College, were not obliged. This newspaper can badger and it can wait. It waited; this time.
Superintendent Sheldon Buxton read Dr. Bachhofer’s letter at the meeting, transcribed below, in which the board chairman called constituents of the district “ambivalent at best and hostile at worst.”
November 10, 2015
This letter is official notice that I am resigning my position as president of the Luther School Board as well as my membership on the board effective immediately. After a careful and prolonged analysis, coupled with discussions with family and trusted friends, I believe that this action benefits Luther Public Schools. Although I made the decision many months ago not to seek re-election, recent events seem to indicate the general public is ambivalent at best and hostile at worst to the direction that the board has undertaken over the last few months. As board president, I understand that this fact is a reflection of the community’s displeasure in my leadership. Accordingly, I am stepping aside so that a new candidate might join the board in anticipation of the February election and restore public confidence in the school district generally and the board specifically. I wish nothing but good luck and prosperity to this district, administration and school board.
The board accepted his resignation, along with the resignation of Dean of Students Patti Buxton (this newspaper did get that letter in advance). The board then consented to function as a four member voting body until the February 9, 2015, election. However, Board Member Charles DeFuria abstained because of his interpretation of when the resignation was to take effect – the date of resignation (Nov. 10), or the date of board action (Dec. 14). The latter keeps the district within a legal 60-day window to not call a special election.
Board Chairman Matt Mohr called them both “very good candidates,” and recommended letting the voters decide who to put in the fifth board chair.