February 14, 2016

Board appoints two new members

Superintendent Bill Gilhaus discusses replacement of a board member during the Sept. 16 school board meeting. Photo courtesy of Rick Poppitz/KC Video

Superintendent Bill Gilhaus discusses replacement of a board member during the Sept. 16 school board meeting. Photo courtesy of Rick Poppitz/KC Video

WATCH VIDEO: Rick Poppitz, kcvideo.com

Debbie Hickman
Special to The Gardner News
USD 231 members appointed two new board members on Sept. 16.
Tresa Boden, a former USD 231 director of health services, was appointed to position number 3. She was the only applicant for the spot.
Mary Nelson, senior vice president of commercial lending at Metcalf Bank, was appointed to position 4. Nelson was selected from a pool of three candidates, including Katherine Marshal and Darla Mabrey. She was approved 5-0 with Brad Chandler abstaining.
The new members are to replace former board member Shelta Collins and Tim Rayburn, who has announced his intention to step aside.
Chandler objected to the appointment process. Chandler explained he had received some last minute information from the Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB) that led him to question the legitimacy of the appointment process for replacing Rayburn, board president, given that he had not formally resigned and was actually presiding over the meeting. Rayburn voted on his own replacement.
He referred to a document, taken from the KASB School Law Handbook, that was emailed to him late in the day by a KASB attorney in response to his questions about the relationship between a resignation, a board vacancy and publishing a notice to announce a vacancy.
This document, written in question-and-answer format, said that the law requires the board to publish a vacancy notice after the vacancy occurs.
“Until the board member actually resigns, there is no vacancy,” the attorney-written letter reads.
Superintendent Bill Gilhaus, asked USD 231 attorney, Joe Hatley to speak to Chandler’s concerns.
Hatley quoted statute K.S.A. 25-2022: “Any board shall have power to fill by appointment any vacancy which occurs thereon, and such appointee shall serve for the unexpired term. When a vacancy occurs, the board shall publish a notice one time in a newspaper having general circulation in the school district stating that the vacancy has occurred and that it will be filled by appointment by the board not sooner than fifteen (15) days after such publication.”
Hatley also read the last sentence from KSA 25-2023, “Each member elected to a board of education shall hold office until a successor is elected or appointed and qualified and shall serve for a term of four (4) years.”
Hatley said a resigning board member has the option to either resign effective immediately as Collins did, or to remain in office until the board appoints a new member as Rayburn was doing.
Hatley saw no reason the board could not proceed with the appointment process for vacancies created by Collins and Rayburn.  Chandler was unable to provide a statute addressing the information given him by KASB.
Chandler asked that they proceed with replacing the vacancy created by Collins, but table the vote for replacing Rayburn until the new information he provided was researched. Rob Shippy, board member, also suggested that the process for appointing a replacement for Rayburn be rescheduled to allow further investigation. Shippy said he wanted to be sure the process was correct.  Gilhaus immediately responded to Shippy.  The superintendent said that in a private meeting with Shippy last week, Shippy had praised the appointment process and transparency on the issue. Gilhaus said he could not understand why Shippy was now taking issue with proceeding.  Shippy made no further comments.
The vote to accept the process for appointing board members was approved with four members voting yes.  Chandler and Shippy abstained.


  1. Judith Rogers says:

    I cannot understand why these citizens who were applicants for Board positions spoke as to their qualifications, etc. since, in my opinion, it was a done deal before the meeting even opened. You have also seen similar done deals with your city of Gardner for years now and the citizens suffer so because of it and yet do not much of anything to put a stop to this type of rotten government and also while paying outrageous salary amounts for these bureaucrats who don’t work for the citizens.

    Mr. Gilhaus needs to be fired, in my opinion, and as I told the Board numerous years ago and also most of these Board members who governed as they did during this sham meeting voted out of office – only the people can bring that about. The search needs to be done far and wide for DECENT Board replacements, let’s hope the new appointees fall into that bracket – no easy task in today’s world to find the needed decency since most decent people don’t want to be a part of the slime that goes on. We need the MAJORITY of the School Board and the Gardner City Council filled with people who know the meaning of decency and act accordingly rather than going along to get along or who take care of the thieves rather than the citizens – until that MAJORITY is in place and you keep the lowlifes from recalling them, you will be reading about sham meetings like this one for a long time.

    Same ole problems time and time again because the citizens are NOT doing their jobs and holding the wrongdoers accountable.

    Last but not least, what is the School Board’s response to the incentives requested by Zimmer? Our schools lose the biggest amount of tax dollars on those incentives – are they protecting you, the citizen, on that issue or are they not really caring about another thief transferring their tax burden to citizens who should not carry that burden nor should they be paying for those costs of development, police and fire protections, roads etc., etc.so these jaybirds can pay some person minimum wage to help them carry their bags of money to their bank – especially for a warehouse with hire and fire, low paying jobs – no big bonus on that project or for any of those warehouses. You will be finding out what your School Board and City Council stand for on the done deal of that project and the final vote by Council members. Real easy for you to keep your scorecard if you would only do it.

  2. How did that man vote for his replacement? That would never have happened with Mr. Parry. Shame on you board members; one of which I’ve known since she was a girl. You know better.

  3. Gardnerwhos says:

    1. Gardner News, thank you for pointing out the intimidation tactics that Gilhaus uses to keep staff, and now board members, in line. Shippy, you’re on notice, this is what you’re up against. Are you going to let Gilhaus bully and silence you? You’ll always have to dig deeper to stay ahead of the game. The process might have appeared to be transparent, but you need to examine EVERY process because sneaky Gilhaus will always bastardize it to stack the deck in his favor.

    2. I’m guessing the reason Shippy now questions the process, Dr. Gilhaus, is because information casting doubt on the process was brought to light at the meeting.

  4. Judith Rogers says:

    We have big problems with our government entities but those problems will not be solved by those who do not have the moral fortitude to take ownership of their comments or concerns – we need decent citizens stepping up to the plate – not making anonymous comments.

  5. Gillhaus mentions a “private meeting with Shippy”? Then Shippy shuts up? Strange…..

  6. These intimidation tactics are nothing new as they have been going on for awhile. That is why is it vital that we elect good School Board Members that can operate independently of the Superintendent or school district because if they can’t it will be leveraged against them. Once a Board Member has their hands dirty then they are beholden to Superintendent. This is why we have Board Members voting YES on his contract despite not seeing it. This is why we have Board Members voting YES on new policy letters that they have not seen.

    USD 231 is upside down and that was apparent at the last meeting. The Superintendent should answer to the board not the other way around. The Superintendent should not run the meeting nor should he participate in any discussion before the board votes on the new members that will…evaluate the Superintendent and decide whether to retain him or not.

    The Superintendent was going to get his way regardless. He had already put the USD 231 Lawyer to work and was prepared. I wonder how much tax payer money goes for the lawyer and I wonder how much he is used researching how to skirt poorly written statutes so the Superintendent can force his will upon the BOE?

    The entire process is embarrassing and it is a shame. If our teachers and our children ARE truly important…why do WE THE PEOPLE allow this to go on? At some point we need to decide to take back our School Board.

  7. It appears Mr. Chandler has more backbone than all the rest of them.

  8. Senior is right back when Mr. Perry was there, this would not be happening. Yes when we were kids we didn’t like Mr. Perry much, but as you look back on it now, I bet most people who remember him would love to have him back. I moved from Gardner 30 years ago, it was a small town then we had 92 seniors in my class. I guess Gardner growing up was not such a good thing after all.

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