ENCINITAS — On the same night the Encinitas Union School District board celebrated outgoing member Maureen “Mo” Muir’s service, the district’s superintendent laid out the process for which they could find her replacement.
Voters on Nov. 4 elected Muir, who served on the elementary school board for six years, to the San Dieguito Union High School District. On Tuesday night, her current board and County Supervisor Dave Roberts presented her with certificates for her service. The County Board of Supervisors also voted to honor Muir by declaring Tuesday “Maureen Muir Day” across the county.
“I wanted to come here to let you know how proud I am of all that you have accomplished and will be when you take it to the next level at San Dieguito Union High School District,” Roberts said in his brief remarks.
Muir, who has often been the minority voice on her current board, said she would miss the relationships she has forged with parents and with students.
“They’ve got great families, and great kids; I have been so honored to serve them,” Muir said.
Following a brief reception and several agenda items, the school board received a report from Superintendent Timothy Baird, who outlined the two options the board has to replace Muir: appoint a replacement or call for a special election.
While both processes would be lengthy, Baird estimated that a special election would cost the district $50,000, a month after it spent $30,000 on the election in November that saw incumbents Emily Andrade, Marla Strich and Gregg Sonken re-elected to their posts.
The school board has 60 days from the date of Muir’s resignation — which occurs when she submits a formal letter of resignation to Baird — to announce its intentions.
Baird told the board he would likely recommend the board appoint Muir’s replacement to avoid spending money on an election.
At least one person in attendance, Leucadia resident Lynn Marr, believes the school board should replace Muir with her protégé, Jennifer Hamler, who was the lone challenger in the recent election and finished in fourth place.
Hamler regularly attends board meetings and is informed on the major issues facing the district, Marr said.
“She (Hamler) represents a big segment of support in the community,” said Marr, who has been critical of the school board majority’s handling of state open-meeting laws. “I hope you take into consideration what the electorate showed.”
Hamler, who was in attendance Tuesday, did not say whether she would seek the appointment. Muir declined to comment when asked if she had a recommendation to fill her vacancy.
Flanking Muir at Tuesday’s celebration were her husband, Encinitas City Councilman Mark Muir, and her son, Scotland, who recently started high school in the district where Maureen was elected to serve.
Father and son both said they were proud of her accomplishments.
“She has helped everyone in the community, and does a good job,” Scotland said.
“My only hope is that she doesn’t run against me,” Mark said, speaking on his wife’s popularity with the electorate (Maureen finished as the highest vote-getter in the SDUHSD election).