Gustafson resigns from school board |

Gustafson resigns from school board

Christine Stanley
Sierra Sun
Cindy Gustafson

After more than five years making school district decisions, Cindy Gustafson announced her resignation from the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District board last week, citing her position on California’s Fish and Game Commission and spending more time with family as some of the factors leading to the decision.

“It was a surprise and a shock,” said school district Superintendent Dennis Williams. “This is her second year as school board president, and she brought strong leadership. We will have a majority of members that have been on the board less than one year and to lose that experience and history will be a big loss.”

Large issues, such as teacher contract negotiations and the funding of new facilities, might be difficult for a relatively inexperienced board to handle. Kristy Olk and Monty Folsom have been with the board less than one year, and veterans Pat Gibbons-Johnson and Mel Cone will be up for re-election in November 2006, along with whomever is appointed to fill Gustafson’s seat for the remaining 15 months.

But Gustafson said she believes there is enough experience there to continue tackling tough topics.

“Kristy has a lot of experience and Monty has been involved in education for his entire career, and Pat and Mel have been with us a long time,” she said. “All the individuals currently serving have a great amount of experience.”

A trustee for Area 5, which includes schools in the Tahoe City area, Gustafson focused much of her energy on the fiscal obligations of the district, including the funding of the now-closed Prosser Creek Charter School, she said.

“I think the main thing is that our job as board members is to be accountable to the public and their dollars, and to make sure that our kids are receiving the best education possible and that we are preparing them for life. The board is always out to react to issues but we have to stay focused on our long term goals,” Gustafson said.

Though a successor has not yet been named, Gibbons-Johnson said she thinks the person appointed will probably have similar views to Gustafson, who she called a fiscally conservative watchdog.

“We have had a lot happen in the last six years that we have gone through together, and I give her a whole lot of credit for her dedication to [Area 5] and to the district,” Gibbons-Johnson said.