Purtee named trustee - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Purtee named trustee

Commissioners fill vacancy on Cd'A School Board

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Posted: Saturday, April 28, 2012 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - After two hours of interviewing and an hour of discussion, all in front of a crowd of more than 100, the Kootenai County commissioners voted unanimously on Thursday evening to select James Purtee to fill the Zone 1 trustee seat on the Coeur d'Alene School District board.

Emphasizing that any of the six applicants for the vacant seat were well qualified and could have served the district well, the commissioners noted that Purtee, owner of Jimmy's Down the Street restaurant in Coeur d'Alene, has shown repeated interest in seeking a board position and will bring decades of financial experience to the five-member board.

"Purtee stood for election and came very close," said Commissioner Todd Tondee before the vote, a reference to Purtee losing by seven votes when he ran for a trustee position three years ago.

He also noted Purtee's promise to weigh opinions from all sides before making decisions on hot topics, including the continuation of International Baccalaureate programs.

"I like the idea you come in with an open mind to study and evaluate the programs," Tondee said.

Commissioner Dan Green emphasized the importance of financial background, which Purtee boasts after more than 40 years in the restaurant and marketing industries.

"School is big business, it's not just curriculum," Green said before the vote in the county administration building.

Commissioner Jai Nelson praised Purtee's outsider perspective as an individual without past involvement in the district and who hasn't had any children attend district schools.

"I think the outside vantage of what's worked, what hasn't worked can be good," Nelson said.

Purtee, who shook the hands of all the commissioners and the other trustees after the vote, said he was thrilled by the decision.

"I do not go into the position with an agenda. I can't tell you what I want to do and what I don't want to do," the Zone 1 resident said, adding that he will engage in dialogue with the other trustees while keeping an "open mind" and a "commitment to education."

The decision had been a long time coming.

The school district board's prior appointment of Wanda Quinn to the Zone 1 seat had been nullified by a district court judge, when it was discovered the voting process had not followed legal procedure.

Unprecedented to all of the officials' best knowledge, the commissioners were then tasked with filling the seat under state law, because the position had been vacant more than 120 days.

The process itself was new for all involved. The commissioners conducted the interviews with the four current trustees, and the officials posed questions to the six applicants who sat and answered together in a panel format.

The other candidates included Quinn, program development specialist for the University of Idaho, attorney Duncan Koler, stay-at-home mom Christa Hazel, Realtor Luke Sommer and Casey Morrisroe, owner of Specialty Recreation and Marine.

Topics discussed included opinions on charter school vouchers, attracting qualified teachers, the IB program and the Students Come First legislation.

Afterward, with the applicants still seated before them, the commissioners asked for the trustees' input and then narrowed down the top candidates.

"I appreciated the civility of it," said district Trustee Tom Hamilton afterward. "And I appreciate living in a community where something like this comes up and so many want to step up. I would've been disappointed if there had only been one or none (to choose from)."

Purtee had been among Hamilton's top three choices, and he respected the commissioners' decision.

"The reasons they stated for Mr. Purtee's selection are sound," Hamilton said.

Trustee Terri Seymour also favored appointing Purtee.

"Every applicant did a great job," Seymour said. "I know it was very hard for the commissioners. It was hard for all of us."

Hamilton said the trustees will confer with legal advisers, but he expected Purtee would be sworn in at the next district board meeting on May 7.

He reminded that the Zone 1 term will be up in 2013.

"The voters will have a say in it next May," Hamilton said.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect a correction. The original story erroneously stated that Terri Seymour had defeated Jim Purtee in a prior election.

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  • cda271 posted at 12:21 pm on Sat, Apr 28, 2012.

    cda271 Posts: 47

    Note to Mr. Samual Standing: Mr Purtee stated several times his geographical background was Texas and the South...not CA. His "close" ties to who....and you know this how?...and aren't you refuting his own statements of his objectivity and independence from any and all "groups"? Are you saying ones friends should always and only be from one spectrum or the other? Isn't that a fairly narrow minded approach...and isn't that the problem we have in our national politics? Just asking.
    I approve of the process and the selection.

  • CClavin posted at 11:49 am on Sat, Apr 28, 2012.

    CClavin Posts: 221

    Nice job to Jim. I sat through the meetings and he was not doubt the best fit for the board. This time the process worked.

  • justinian posted at 8:30 am on Sat, Apr 28, 2012.

    justinian Posts: 318

    "SHOCKING! Alecia Warren butchers another article about the dealings of the school board."

    Yeah there does seem to be an interesting bias and lack of professionalism in reporting on the local schools.

  • Jeffrey Wherley posted at 7:32 am on Sat, Apr 28, 2012.

    Jeffrey Wherley Posts: 3969


    To bad Mr. Sommers didn't read my comments on that bizarre Hyper-partisan list of questions the CDAPress put out the other day, and apparently were used almost exclusively. I said some of those questions would either eliminate or force to lie some Candidates.

    Still I think the outcome was good, I expected Wanda to be reaffirmed, which would have only shadowed the BoT for another year. Hopefully, this level of discontent and corruption never hits my district, but now the County is aware they do have an oversight duty and responsibility to the school districts.

  • inclined posted at 3:39 pm on Fri, Apr 27, 2012.

    inclined Posts: 682

    The candidate interview process did give us a look at new levels interest and qualification. The spotlight was on the Commissioners as well. Curious they did not seem prepared for a final decision making process, as though, a bit of drama, and perhaps feigned spontaneity was best. That Dan would ask about priority of attention of a candidate’s focus--the zone, or district--there was clear intention on his and Todd’s part to eliminate Luke Sommer, even if he were the best possibility of choice, but not from Zone 1, to make Dan’s own question a mute issue. It was not then, about the best candidate, but about a requirement not stipulated in law?

    And the IB issue, clearly having to get by the Commissioners, was a loaded and I’m afraid, not politically correct stance for Mr. Koler, or Mr. Sommer. RRd has it clear: “What is unprecedented is the Progressive stranglehold upon the necks of SD271 residents that imposed an unconstitutional paradigm of international instruction that debases American Exceptionalism”, and when stated by Mr. Sommers in his response to a direct question on continued IB implementation, got negative vocal responses from the gallery.

    I believe Mr. Sommers used the term “un-American” to describe, what occupied perhaps three of the six questions to the applicants, as though highlighting either IB”s critical importance of priority attention, or it’s use as a lightning rod to illicit a vote of more progressive reflection of the Commissioners.

  • objective posted at 2:21 pm on Fri, Apr 27, 2012.

    objective Posts: 70

    Having children or not in the "system" doesn't have a darn thing to do with providing oversight or setting policy as a trustee. YOu mean if you don't have children you're less capable of managing? Seems to me to be an opportunity to offer unbiased, objective opinion and insight.
    One other note. I happen to know the new appointee and know he has friends on both sides of the political spectrum He is extremely open minded, fair and objective. Not tied to anyone or anything. Rare in this town. ... but it seems there is no shortage of people in CDA who are willing to "lable" people they really do not even know. Careful of your words would be my advice.

  • SamuelStanding posted at 1:32 pm on Fri, Apr 27, 2012.

    SamuelStanding Posts: 514

    While not a fan of how the CDA School District has been conducting themselves/business... I fail to join in with the rest of the posters in excitement over someone from CA who does not have children in the system but close ties with some of the (in my opinion) crazies attacking and currently on this board.

    Just don't share your excitement...

  • parent posted at 8:58 am on Fri, Apr 27, 2012.

    parent Posts: 347

    Alecia and Mike, we can do without. I don't think a person needs to be careful about the TRUTH.

    Congrats Jim!!!!!!

  • InThePines posted at 8:50 am on Fri, Apr 27, 2012.

    InThePines Posts: 146

    Given Mr. Purtee's near win the last time there was a true election and NOT an appointment conveniently arranged by the district's administration after an "also arranged" resignation by a current Board member, this seems a very objective and fair decision. Good job, Commissioners!

  • WilliamWMiller posted at 8:47 am on Fri, Apr 27, 2012.

    WilliamWMiller Posts: 106

    I am afraid Ms. Warren is too worried about registering as a Republican in the upcoming primary to worry about some simple little facts. Give the girl a break, she is treading into new waters.

  • NFL posted at 8:18 am on Fri, Apr 27, 2012.

    NFL Posts: 20

    "...or if she just really is that inept as a journalist???"

    Careful apathoid - you'll be banned for sure. The Press doesn't take kindly to such comments. Suffice to say EVERYONE in Cda knows well the qualifications of those who write for this "newspaper."

  • Mary Souza posted at 8:10 am on Fri, Apr 27, 2012.

    Mary Souza Posts: 790

    Congrats to Jim Purtee! He lost a few years ago by only 7 votes to Eddie Brooks (not Terri Seymour) so Jim was a very good choice this time. I think he'll bring real world business experience to the board.

  • apathoid posted at 7:47 am on Fri, Apr 27, 2012.

    apathoid Posts: 211

    SHOCKING! Alecia Warren butchers another article about the dealings of the school board. I am beginning to wonder if she does it on purpose (due to her stated political bias) or if she just really is that inept as a journalist??? The facts about Mr. Purtee's election loss were reported in the CDA Press...one would think she could have used her own paper to fact check her own article. Too much to ask?

    In either case, it is good to be done with the mess created by Edie Brooks and the HeadNodder Gang. Congratulations to Jim Purtee. May your service to our community be excellent and rewarding.

  • mister d posted at 7:31 am on Fri, Apr 27, 2012.

    mister d Posts: 1531

    I look forward to seeing this trustee in action. if he does a fine job, he will be reelected in the future most likely.

  • concernedcitizen posted at 6:48 am on Fri, Apr 27, 2012.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530

    Right on Jim!

  • objective posted at 6:10 am on Fri, Apr 27, 2012.

    objective Posts: 70

    Press gets it wrong. Edie Brooks (Miss Manipulator) is the one who defeated Mr. Purtee three years ago. Not T. Seymour.
    Will Diane and Sid "EVER" put politics aside? EVVVVEEERRR?
    I think Mr. Purtee will be the "most" objective person on the panel. Good Luck to him.

  • rexaroni posted at 4:35 am on Fri, Apr 27, 2012.

    rexaroni Posts: 189

    Jim Purtee seems a level-headed individual. I'm sure he will bring his strengths to the position. Congratulations.

  • Jeffrey Wherley posted at 4:05 am on Fri, Apr 27, 2012.

    Jeffrey Wherley Posts: 3969

    Congratulations to all involved. A year of turmoil and division can now start to heal. The process works!

  • RadRev2D posted at 4:04 am on Fri, Apr 27, 2012.

    RadRev2D Posts: 372

    "Unprecedented to all of the officials' best knowledge"...

    perhaps, but certainly provided for within the framework of the Idaho Constitution.
    What is unprecedented is the Progressive stranglehold upon the necks of SD271 residents that imposed an unconstitutional paradigm of international instruction that debases American Exceptionalism.

    Eddie Brooks arrogantly appointed her replacement and the other Trustees nodded in agreement.

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