School board member resigns

By Ryan Lengerich: CNJ staff writer

Clovis Municipal Schools Board of Education member George Banister resigned Friday, saying he no longer enjoys holding the position.

Banister delivered a letter to Board President Lora Harlan indicating his resignation as District 2 board member effective immediately.

“I have enjoyed the several years I have served and have also enjoyed the friends I have made and the accomplishments of our district,” he wrote. “However, I am no longer enjoying my board service and feel a need to spend my time on more lighthearted pursuits with my friends and family.”

Banister could not be reached for comment late Sunday.
Harlan said the decision caught her by surprise.

“He has a lot of solid views on education for children,” Harlan said. “He is also a very private person and there comes a point when he is not willing to put his family and his life in a position to deal with a lot of controversy.”

At last week’s school board meeting, Banister clashed with board member Mark Lansford over an Open Meetings Act resolution. Banister said Lansford is creating “disarray on this harmonious board that is here to educate kids.”

Lansford called the exchange a “personal attack.”

Lansford would not comment on whether the issue may have played a part in Banister’s resignation.

Harlan said Banister has been a board member for nine years. He was last elected in February 2001 and his term was due to expire in February 2005.

Harlan, board president for the past 15 months, said the board will officially accept Banister’s resignation at Tuesday’s noon board meeting. The board then has 45-days to find a replacement.

The board will decide a time frame in which it will accept applications from people residing in education District 2.

When the board selects a replacement, Harlan said that person must file candidacy in December and run for re-election in February 2005 to retain the position.

Banister’s resignation creates quorum issues for the board. Harlan said in order to take action at a meeting, three board members must be present. Now, if two board members are not present a vote can’t be taken.

“Obviously it will change the complexion of the board a little bit, which always happens whenever there is a new face on the board,” Harlan said. “However, we have been in this situation before and we look at the board and we look at the district and we look at the people that apply and we do our best to make a decision.”