By Linda Kor –
Joseph City School District Governing Board member Ralph Bushman delivered a heartfelt apology Tuesday evening regarding an incident that occurred during the Joseph City High School commencement ceremony last month.
It was at that ceremony that another board member, Ronnie Blosser, arrived to present diplomas wearing a tank top, shorts and a bandana around his head, along with a tie. His appearance was the result of a bet made by Bushman the day before, who stated that he had jokingly told board members they should liven up the ceremonies and offered $10 to Blosser if he would dress as he did. “I want to sincerely apologize… I made several mistakes. First I instigated the event; secondly, when he showed up dressed as he was I didn’t ask him to go home and change. I let the moment get away. It was my fault; I was shocked at the response and it was not my intent,” stated Bushman.
The incident apparently offended a large number of people as letters, e-mails and phone calls poured in not only to the board president, but also to Navajo County Superintendent of Schools Linda Morrow, who was also present at the meeting.
As a result of the incident, Blosser resigned from his position on June 4, leaving the board with three vacancies for the November election.
“Obviously, I was disappointed, but there is nothing I can do in this situation. I firmly believe in local control because I don’t know your community the way you do. I will say that we must hold ourselves to a higher standard because of our children. Joseph City has an exceptional school district and I don’t want anyone to lose sight of that. This is not an easy job, it is a learning experience and you’ll need to work on a way to come back from this,” stated Morrow.
Board member Sheri Hill thanked Bushman for his apology and asked that the community move on to better things. “It’s been very disheartening; not what happened, but since then. If we allow negative to run then you just stay down and wallow. A real person takes ownership and we move on to discuss the more important issues for our kids. A lot of people were affected and the board member has resigned,” she said.
In other business, it was noted that the Arizona Interscholastic Association has awarded Joseph City High School the E. A. Row award for overall excellence in a small school again this year. Only the top 1A school in athletics in the state receives this award, and JCHS has been the recipient of this award six times in the past 12 years.
In addition, the board:
* Approved a renewal of contract with Educational Services, Inc., a company that allows retired employees to work in their current positions without jeopardizing their retirement checks.
* Approved the lease purchase of a 2013 78-passenger Thomas bus at a cost of $160,593.74 for travel and route usage.
* Approved an intergovernmental agreement with Vail School District of Pima County to take part in the district’s Beyond Textbooks program. The cost will be $1,500 per training session, an annual administrative fee of $3,000 and a use fee of $8 per student.
* Approved 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 21, as the time and date to discuss the proposed budget for fiscal year 2012-13.
* Approved the fiscal year 2013 General Statement of Assurance.
* Approved the appointments of Kim Brennan, district speech pathologist; Gerri Buckley, part time cafeteria cashier; Scott Corum, JCHS head basketball coach; Lisa Lampsa, part time elementary school secretary; Gabriel Nava, sixth grade teacher; Corinne Peterson, first grade teacher; and Jeanette Preston, part time cafeteria custodian.