Kendall to remain in Andover GMUSD seat — for now

Board member Scott Kendall asked for an analysis of Cavendish leaving the GMUSD

Scott Kendall says he will remain on the GMUSD board for the time being. His Andover home is up for sale.

By Cynthia Prairie
©2024 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Scott Kendall, Andover representative on the board of the Green Mountain Unified School District, has decided to hold on to his seat for the time being after announcing his intention to resign last December.

His intention to resign meant that the town of Andover was facing electing a new board member at Town Meeting in March to fill the remaining two years of Kendall’s three-year term. And town resident Ron Theissen, who has had a long career in the financial services industry, had expressed an intention to fill the seat through a write-in campaign. However, all that has changed.

In an interview on Friday, Kendall says he had a change of heart because  “a lot of people begged me to not get off the board, and with a new superintendent, new principals and new board members, I now have high hopes that we can get something done.”

When he announced his resignation in December, he wrote to Andover Town Clerk Jeanette Haight: “I have put much thought into this and I can no longer be part of this board. This school board gets nothing done.”

Still Kendall, who grew up in Andover, has his Andover home up for sale and says, “I will be around. But I can’t promise I will be in Andover.” So he has made provisions for a replacement should he end up moving out of the area before his term is up. He says he has made the Andover Select Board aware of the situation and it has agreed to name Theissen as his replacement.

However, according to state statute (16 VSA 731 (a)(1)),  the school district asks a select board for a recommendation to fill the vacancy and, within 30 days the district board appoints an “eligible person” to fill the vacancy until “the voters elect a successor at an annual or special meeting.” When Dennis Reilly resigned from the GMUSD board last year, the Cavendish Select Board demurred on making a recommendation. But after the school board deadlocked between two Cavendish candidates, Cavendish Select Board members endorsed Lisa Sanders,  who was ultimately elected by the school district board on Aug. 17. She will stand for election in her own right for a three-year term on March 5.

As he remains on the board, Kendall says, “I’m here to make sure Andover has a voice. We went for three years without a bus and now we have a bus.”

He adds that there are a lot of issues the school system — made up of Cavendish Town and Chester-Andover Elementary schools and Green Mountain Union High — still has to tackle, including paying for PCB remediation at Green Mountain High. Polychlorinated Biphenyls are manmade chemicals that were once used in building materials and in electrical equipment like transformers but were found to cause cancers and other health problems and were outlawed nationwide in 1979.

Kendall says “early on the board was led to believe that the state would pay for all the work,” but that now it is promising “to pay for filters and air cleaners” at GM but not complete mitigation.

He adds that his decision to resign was partially influenced by the Chieftain mascot naming issue. “We couldn’t focus on anything else without this ridiculous issue,” he says.  For almost all of last year the board was in disarray, seemingly mired in down by the issue. Some board members wanted to keep the Chieftain name while others felt that it violated school policy against racist mascots and wanted to drop it. Now, the board seems to have resolved the issue in late December with a 6 to 3 vote that dropped the name.  “I am the one representative (on the school board) for Andover and I don’t know what the majority of my district think about it,” Kendall now says.

While his future home is unclear, his future in elective office is:   “This will be my last political thing,” he says.

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About the Author: Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor more than 40 years. Cynthia has worked at such publications as the Raleigh Times, the Baltimore News American, the Buffalo Courier Express, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Patuxent Publishing chain of community newspapers in Maryland, and has won numerous state awards for her reporting. As an editor, she has overseen her staffs to win many awards for indepth coverage. She and her family moved to Chester, Vermont in 2004.

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  1. RAYMOND MAKUL says:

    Everyone must be in a tizzy with the Kansas City Chiefs winning the SuperBowl. Again.