Christina O'Haver, The Union Democrat

Big Oak Flat-Groveland Unified School District Board of Trustees President Lori West has resigned, leaving the board with a vacant seat to fill by its October meeting.

West's resignation went into effect Aug. 8 and was formally accepted by the board at Wednesday's meeting.

In her letter of resignation, dated Aug. 7, West thanked the community for allowing her to represent the district, where her own children have attended school.

"I wish our children and families in our community the best and expect that our local schools will provide the high quality education that our children truly deserve," the letter said.

Also on Wednesday, the board selected trustee Ian Morcott to replace West as president.

West and Morcott joined the board through the May 2009 recall election, which replaced all five members of the school board at the time.

Morcott initially served as board president, followed by Ed Quinn and, finally, West.

"Lori has been a very involved community member and I value her service, and I'll miss her on the board," Morcott said Friday.

West said she is working on her master's degree in counseling so she can become a licensed marriage and family therapist. She still lives in the Groveland area and will commute to Fresno Pacific University.

The school district posted the vacancy last Thursday and will accept applications until 3 p.m. Friday.

The new trustee will serve the remainder of West's four-year term, which ends in December 2014. The trustee could run for another four-year term in the November 2014 election.

The board oversees Tenaya Elementary School, Tioga High School, Don Pedro High School and Moccasin Day School.

Applicants must be at least 18 years old, be registered to vote, and live within the school district.

The seven-question application gauges candidates' community involvement, reasons for applying for the seat, and relevant qualifications.

District Superintendent Dave Urquhart said the board will hold a special meeting, where it will, in open session, interview candidates and make an appointment. The meeting is scheduled for Sept. 25 at 6 p.m.

He said the appointed trustee will take his or her seat at the board's October meeting.

The board could hold a special election instead of appointing a new trustee but it is a costly process, Urquhart said.

Tuolumne County Clerk and Auditor-Controller Debi Bautista said many factors determine the cost of a special election for a school board. She estimated, however, that it would cost the roughly 3,200-voter district somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000.

Urquhart said the board will have to hold an election if no one applies.

As of this morning, the district had not received any applications.

To apply for the seat, contact district secretary Jennifer Shimer at 962-5765 or