Stacey Jones has announced that she may resign from the Menlo Park City School District board next summer because she and her family are likely to move from the state. The school board has begun discussing how to fill her position should her resignation become official.
Jones, who joined the board in 2014, told district officials around the end of November that her husband took a new job in Colorado. Her family may move to accommodate his job once the school year wraps up, she said.
Jones said won’t submit her resignation to San Mateo County Superintendent Nancy Magee until her plans are definite. Until she does that, her resignation is not official.
“It’s very hard, in all honesty,” said Jones, who has a ninth-grader at Menlo-Atherton High School, a seventh-grader at Hillview Middle School and fifth-grader at Laurel School. “I’ve so enjoyed the opportunity to work with everyone in the school district and serve the community in this way. It was a tough choice for my husband and I because we’ve been in Menlo Park for a long time. Our children have essentially only known Menlo. We love it; we love the community.”
During a Dec. 11 meeting, the school board discussed options including holding a special election next November or appointing a replacement for Jones if she resigns. The board leaned toward holding a special election. A drawback of appointing someone? He or she could serve only until 2020, whereas if there was a special election, the person could serve out the last three years of her four-year term, Jones said.
Newcomers Sherwin Chen and Scott Saywell joined Jones as the only candidates this year for the board's three open seats, so the Nov. 6 board election was automatically canceled. Chen and Saywell took their board seats in December.
“Had I known about this in July, I wouldn’t have run for a second term,” Jones said.
Jones’ husband was not actively looking for a job, but got a call around Halloween about the opportunity, she said. Her husband has been commuting to Denver since taking a job as a senior vice president of corporate development in November. Jones “absolutely” did not know she and her family may be moving out of state when she ran for school board, she said.
“The opportunity came up very suddenly,” she said. “Life throws you curveballs all the time.”
Jones hopes the move is an opportunity for her children to gain resiliency by experiencing a big change.
Before leaving, Jones would like to see the district’s new philosophy for how to pay its teachers finalized, she said. The philosophy is aimed at retaining the “most qualified and exceptional teachers and staff” given that the cost of living in the district is extremely high, and the district's budget is dependent on local revenue sources, according to a district statement.
Jones said she's sad that a move will mean she must also say goodbye to her job as student services and operations coordinator at Stanford University.
For a November 2019 special election to fill the seat, the board would have to pass a resolution 130 days before the election. This means that Jones would have to resign by the beginning of June for the position to be on the ballot.