Leib to resign from Solana Beach School board, new officers elected

(File photo)

Solana Beach School District Vice President Richard Leib has announced he is resigning from board, effective Jan. 17, 2020.

“It’s a difficult decision because I’ve enjoyed my work for the past 11 years on the board,” said Leib, making his announcement at the board’s Dec. 12 meeting. “We have the absolute best faculty, staff and administrators in the country and it’s a been a wonderful experience. More importantly, we have wonderful kids that attend our schools and, as a board, we all agree that kids come first.”

Leib said his decision is solely based on the fact that he can’t devote the proper amount of time that is required for serving on the school board as last August he was appointed to the University of California Board of Regents.

“This has required a lot of time and energy with 10 campuses and a $38 billion budget. It’s for some people a full-time job and for me it’s become a full-time job in a sense,” Leib said.

In May, Leib was appointed chair of the UC Regents’ Public Engagement and Development Committee which requires a lot of travel around the state and he was also asked to chair two task forces set up by the regents: One on student mental health and another on technology transfer, which looks at all the intellectual properties of the universities.

“Those are two huge commitments that are going to require more time,” Leib said. “I don’t think that I’ve been a good board member over the last couple of months because of all this. I wanted to stay on during the transition (with the new superintendent) and I think we’re in a great place right now.”

Leib said he does plan to continue working for the district on spearheading the fundraising effort for public artwork at Skyline School as well as on his goal to increase free preschool for under-represented families in the district community.

From the time of the Jan. 17 resignation, the board has 60 days to appoint a board member or call for a special election to fill out the remainder of Leib’s term which ends in December 2020. On Dec. 17 the board voted to use the appointment process to replace Leib. Candidate packets will be available on Dec. 19 online and in the district office for those interested in the position and due to the timing with the holidays, the application process will remain open through Jan. 31.

Candidates will be interviewed in an open session on Feb. 11 and the new board member selected and sworn-in that day.

Leib made his announcement prior to the board’s discussion of the slate of officers for the 2020-21 school year, voted on at the Dec. 17 meeting.

Julie Union put in her name to serve as president for a second year and was voted in unanimously by the board.

“2019 was an extraordinary year. We had to make a lot of difficult and thoughtful decisions and I’m extremely honored to serve with each and every one of you,” Union said. “I felt that we all were very professional and really did what’s best for kids.”

Member Gaylin Allbaugh expressed her interest in taking on a more active role as clerk and both Debra Schade and Vicki King wanted to serve as vice president.

Allbaugh was elected unanimously but the board had a long discussion about the vice president position. Schade believed that there has been a rotational leadership pattern during her 17 years on the board and as the current clerk, she said it made sense for her to move forward into vice president. She suggested the board revisit its bylaws to have rotational leadership as a set practice in the future.

Leib supported Schade as VP as she was recently appointed to the California School Boards Association Board of Directors, representing the entire county. Union supported King as she believes in having opportunities for as many board members as possible to serve in leadership roles.

Allbaugh voted for Schade in the 3-2 vote but said she is not a fan of automatic rotational leadership.

“With a board as high functioning as ours, we have the wherewithal and the depth to evaluate who we think would be best for the upcoming terms based on the conditions of the district at that time,” Allbaugh said.

Union said while it was difficult, she appreciated that the board was able to have an open conversation. Schade said the discussion was good preparation for the upcoming process of appointing a new board member in open session, which she said is one of the hardest things she has had to do on the board.