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Newby: 21 and done

by MAUREEN DOLAN
Staff Writer | April 30, 2010 9:00 PM

COEUR d'ALENE - Vern Newby is giving up his seat on the dais at the Midtown Center.

After 21 consecutive years on the Coeur d'Alene school board, Newby will resign from the Zone 2 trustee position at the end of June.

"This decision wasn't based on the economic times or a particular issue that's haunting the board right now, but on a commitment I made to my wife three years ago," Newby said.

Before he entered and won the last election, Newby said he and his wife, Kristine, decided this would be his final three-year term. He wouldn't seek re-election in 2010.

The passage of election consolidation legislation in 2009 added a year to Newby's term extending it to 2011.

But he's keeping his word to his wife.

"She's a real trooper. She's been to all the state conferences, goes to the meetings. She takes notes," Newby said.

The timing is especially good for the couple because their first three grandchildren were born in the past nine months.

"And 21 years of honey-do lists create a substantial pile," Newby said.

He's looking forward to doing some traveling, and getting around to some home improvement projects he hasn't had time for.

Throughout the years, Newby estimates he has put at least 40 hours a month into his school board activities. He is currently the board's vice chair.

"If I don't put in at least 10 hours a week, planning, studying issues, writing letters to legislators, something isn't getting done," Newby said.

In addition to his trustee responsibilities, Newby has worked for Avista Utilities for 30 years.

A past president of the Idaho School Boards Association, Newby is active in SPEAK (Supporters of Public Education and Kids.)

He and Kristine have five children, all graduates of the Coeur d'Alene School District.

"By and large, I very much have enjoyed my time as a school board member," Newby said. "I've met a wonderful cadre of people who are very dedicated to doing the best for our students, and give us the most for the money available."

Newby said his decision to resign is not a surprise to his fellow board members, nor Superintendent Hazel Bauman, whom he notified three years ago.

He will make a formal announcement at Monday's board meeting.

Once the board accepts Newby's resignation, policy requires trustees officially declare the position vacant within 30 days. They then have 90 days to appoint a new trustee.

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