School board deadlocked on new appointee


Last updated 6/22/2022 at Noon

A special meeting of the Sisters School Board held Thursday, June 16, to vote on a replacement for the position vacated by Don Hedrick, resulted in a tie, delaying the decision for another week.

Three applicants, Rodney Cooper, Asa Sarver, and Josette Johnson, were briefly interviewed at the public meeting before the vote took place. The board had nearly a week prior to the meeting to review the applicants’ comprehensive applications, according to board member Jeff Smith. The information within the applications was not shared during the meeting.

All three were asked the same questions during the public interview.

1. Do you have any concerns about the school budget for funding K-12 education in Sisters?

2. Do you have any concerns about the graduation rate in the Sisters School District?

3. Do you have the time to commit to being a board member?

4. Do you know of any conflicts of interest?

5. Do you have any questions for the board?

The candidates all answered the questions very briefly and similarly, with each taking less than five minutes to complete the interview, which did not shine much light for the 18 people in the audience about the candidates’ thoughts or positions.

All three believed the district’s financial situation was in good shape and that the 92 percent graduation rate was not a big concern, especially relative to the rest of Oregon. All three indicated that they could handle the time commitment and had no conflicts of interest. None had questions for the board.

The board took a few minutes to ponder the choices and each wrote their vote on a piece of paper. Don Hedrick read the results, which resulted in a 2-2 tie between Sarver and Johnson.

Jeff Smith and Jenica Cogdill voted for Sarver, while Edie Jones and Hedrick voted for Johnson. David Thorsett missed the meeting to be near his father who had a health emergency.

As a result of the tie, the board members voted to hold another meeting, hopefully within a week, in the hope that Thorsett could take part. The Board announced that they would retain the application packets for reference.

The next meeting, which will also be public, will take place Thursday, June 23, and will not include any further interviews. It will simply be an opportunity for Thorsett to make his vote. If the vote remains a tie, the board would need to determine its next steps.

Following the meeting, Jeff Smith explained that no concrete guidelines exist for appointing a new board member in Oregon, and indicated that the process by the current Board has been used in the past when appointments have been necessary.


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