Board reacts to resignation


Iowa City School Board members are in the process of setting up a “special meeting” to decide how to move forward after board President Sally Hoelscher resigned late Tuesday evening.

Hoelscher announced her resignation through email to the board members and Superintendent Stephen Murley on Tuesday at 10:36 p.m.

“The purpose of this email is to let you know that, effective immediately, I am resigning from the [School District] Board of Directors for personal reasons,” Hoelscher said in the email. “I have been honored to have had the opportunity to serve on the board.”

In addition to an email, she also posted her resignation on her Facebook page just after midnight Tuesday.

Board member Tuyet Dorau said the decision will happen before the next School Board meeting.

“We are in the process of finding some dates and times within this week and next week to schedule a special meeting,” she said. “We are not waiting until July 8 meeting to discuss these topics.”

At the meeting, the board members will decide whether they will decide to hold a special election or if they will have board Vice President Marla Swesey, whose term expires in 2015, step up as president.

According to Iowa Code, the board may appoint a new president to serve for the remainder of Hoelscher’s term, which expires in September 2015. However, the board decides the process in which the position will be filled.

Swesey was the previous president of the board until the fall of 2013. Hoelscher was elected to the board in 2011 and was elected president of the board in September 2013.

“This came as a complete surprise to me; Sally indicated for personal reasons, and I hope it has nothing to do with her health or her family,” Dorau said.

Not all board members were shocked with Hoelscher’s decision.

“To me, it wasn’t a complete surprise, but I didn’t know it was going to happen last night,” board member Chris Lynch said. “I think the role of a School Board member is  a stressful one, so I think from that aspect it’s been a very busy year.”

Lynch said he doesn’t know what the outcome of the special meeting with other members will bring, but he believes the vice president will step up.

“I think short term the vice president will fill the void, but I’m sure we’ll have to re-elect a president or vice present or at least one position,” he said.

Chace Ramey, the School District’s chief community affairs and human-resources officer, released a statement on Hoelscher’s resignation on Wednesday morning.

“Dr. Hoelscher’s resignation is for personal reasons,” he said in the statement. “The district would like to thank Dr. Hoelscher for her service to the nearly 13,000 students and 2,000 employees of the Iowa City Community School District and for providing board leadership as board president for the last year.”

Although leadership will change in the board, Lynch said, he believes the community will work through the hiccup “productively and respectfully.”

“As a community, we need to understand,” Lynch said. “We need to keep it productive and just understand some of these issues and challenges are hard to work through.”

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