Green disputes opinion that he can’t be on school board
The members of the Douglas County School Board didn’t know they were in for a possible legal battle when they asked for applicants to replace Diane McCoy.
McCoy left the board when she moved to Yerington last month. She represented area 4 on the board.
Randy Green, a Douglas High School teacher, applied for the position, along with two other people.
Green was sent a letter by the school district’s attorney, Tom Susich of Crowell, Susich, Owen and Tackes in Carson City.
He wrote, that in his opinion, Nevada law prohibits Green from both being a teacher and a member of the school board.
Nevada Revised Statute 385.305 reads: “A member of any board of trustees shall not be financially interested in any contract made by the board of trustees of which he is a member.”
Green, who has taught government and economics for 22 years at DHS, said he is not convinced that law applies to him.
“The state statute says the trustee has to be a qualified elector, which I am; and a resident of the district, and I am; and so nowhere specifically do I see my occupation should be a problem,” he said.
He cited the fact that Nevada Board of Regents member Howard Rosenberg is a professor at the University of Nevada, Reno.
“I would be happy to abstain from any vote involving the contract with teachers,” Green said.
Susich wrote in his opinion that no DCSD teacher can be considered for appointment on the board as long as they are under contract to the board.
“This statute prohibits a person who is a member of the board from being financially interested in any contract approved by the board,” the letter reads. “One could argue that this simply means that a member of the board who has a financial interest may simply decline to vote on the offending contract, but could otherwise remain on the board. The language of the statute, however, clearly states that a member shall not be financially interested in any contract approved by the board regardless of whether he participated in its approval.”
Susich also cited a similar case, Lincoln County School District vs. Peterson, which went through the Seventh Judicial District Court in 1995. In that case, the court entered an order “permanently enjoining a teacher from sitting on that county’s school board so long as he maintained a contract with the district,” the letter reads.
Green is still unconvinced.
“Just because someone lost a previous lawsuit doesn’t mean my point doesn’t have any merit,” he said.
Superintendent Pendrey Clark said Green will have to indicate before his interview whether he will be willing to give up his job if appointed.
Green said he doesn’t feel he should have to do that.
“I want to go through the process, then I’ll make that decision at that time. I still have a fundamental belief that I have a fundamental right to apply for this position. If that is their interpretation of the law as written, I still believe it is a violation of my rights,” Green said.
He said he has consulted with an attorney who will probably accompany him to the interviews which are set for 4 p.m. Dec. 16 at Carson Valley Middle School.
Green said although he thought it might come to this, he still applied because he feels he has something to bring to the board.
“I have worked in every facet of the strategic plan, I thought it would be helpful for the board to have someone who has been implementing the strategic plan,” he said.
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