West Bonner trustee’s absence abruptly cancels school board meeting

PRIEST RIVER – Two of three West Bonner school board trustees abruptly canceled Wednesday’s scheduled meeting because they said they lacked a quorum.

One of three remaining board members, trustee Troy Reinbold, did not show up. No one from the district provided a reason for his absence. Trustees Magaret Hall and Carlyn Barton attended.

Reinbold’s continued absences at future meetings could create a period of uncertainty for the board and school district.

There has been concern in the community that Reinbold would boycott Wednesday’s meeting and possibly others in the future after board leaders Keith Rutledge and Susan Brown were recalled by voters last month. Reinbold did not respond to Idaho Education News’ request for comment Wednesday and there is no indication that he will miss additional meetings.

Hall, who is currently serving as acting board chair, did not comment on Reinbold’s absence.

The board apologizes for wasting your time. Tonight’s meeting is postponed and re-scheduled for Sept. 27, Hall told the audience.

Someone asked, “What happens if he never shows up?” Trustees did not answer.

West Bonner’s leader Branden Durst explained to one patron, “The board is still five people. You have to have three people to have a quorum.”

If three are required for the board to meet, Reinbold’s continued absence could derail the appointment of Rutledge’s and Brown’s replacements.

Idaho Code 33-510 governs quorums and says “a quorum for the transaction of business of the board of trustees shall consist of a majority of the members of the board.” 

According to Idaho law, the board has to first declare the vacancies during a meeting. Then the trustees have 90 days to appoint someone from the zone where the vacancy occurred. If they fail to find a suitable replacement, they are allowed to appoint someone from anywhere in the district. If they are still unsuccessful after 120 days, the county commission makes the appointment.

Hall, Barton and Reinbold all face reelection on Nov. 7 — in 48 days — and each has an opponent. The Nov. 7 canvass — the day election results are officially accepted — happens on Nov. 17, which is 58 days from today. If Reinbold does not return during the 58 days, those appointments could be made by the newly-elected board, after the election process.

Wednesday’s scheduled two-hour meeting included action items to pay invoices, hire new employees and discuss the new trustee appointment process. And some in the community were expressing relief and preparing for a return to normalcy. But Wednesday’s event potentially thrusts the district back into a renewed period of chaos. The board has experienced months of tumult — including loud, vocal opposition from parents, disagreements with the State Board of Education, a recall election of two trustees and a restraining order that shut down a meeting before it got underway.

Darren Svan

Darren Svan

Reporter Darren Svan has a background in both journalism and education. Prior to working for military schools at overseas installations, he was news editor at several publications in Wyoming and Colorado. You can send news tips to [email protected].

Get EdNews in your inbox

Weekly round up every Friday