BY MICHAEL WALTON
— TRAVERSE CITY — Applications are being accepted for an open spot on Traverse City Area Public Schools’ Board of Education following the resignation of a trustee and former board president.
Marjorie Rich said this week she will resign effective Jan. 1 after six years on the school board, including two as president. Rich cited her job as program coordinator for the Women’s Resource Center’s Doula Teen Parent Program — a support program for pregnant and parenting teens — as the reason for her departure from the elected office.
Rich said she started with the Doula Teen Parent Program about one year ago and found the demands of the job and the school board more than she anticipated.
“I’ve just decided that at this point in my life this takes priority,” Rich said of her position with the Doula Teen Parent Program, adding, “I don’t feel like I’m doing both jobs as well as I wanted to.”
Rich submitted her resignation roughly one month after voters, for the second time in as many years, rejected a district proposal to raise millions of dollars for upgrades to TCAPS facilities, and about two weeks after several board members vented their frustration over the most recent election outcome during a public meeting.
Rich said little during that discussion. She said this week the millage defeat had nothing to do with her resignation.
“I had really made up my mind prior to the November election and did not want that to cloud anything so I decided to wait until after the election,” she said. “The election results were a disappointment but that had nothing to do with my decision.”
Rich’s seat will be filled on an interim basis until the next school board election in November, according to district officials. Candidates for the vacant seat must be U.S. citizens at least 18 years of age and registered voters in the TCAPS district. They can submit a written letter of interest to the district, following guidelines posted on the board of education section of the district’s website.
Board President Kelly Hall said candidates will be vetted and interviewed in public before board members vote on a replacement. School officials expect the seat to be filled by Feb. 1.