GIPS intending to vacate seat of recently elected school board member

Local4 News at 10
Published: Dec. 13, 2022 at 4:50 PM CST
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Just a month after being elected to the Ward C seat of the Grand Island Public School Board, Katie Mauldin may be having her seat vacated by the district.

During Monday night’s school board meeting, a GIPS representative hand-delivered an official notice to Mauldin stating that GIPS had conducted and concluded an investigation into her residency in Grand Island. The letter states that the investigation concluded that Mauldin lives in Ward A, not Ward C. Due to that conclusion, the district plans to vacate her seat in January.

GIPS School Board President Lisa Albers provided this released statement regarding the seat and the now concluded investigation.

Mauldin, however, says she hasn’t been asked to provide proof of residency, and she plans to fight back. She said she does have two residences, but her primary residence in in Ward C, with her secondary residence being in Ward A. She went on to say that if GIPS did in fact ask her for more proof, she would have happily provided it.

”That person that was investigating me never reached out to me via e-mail, call - nothing, to prove my residency or anything,” Mauldin said. “They just closed it and blindsided me and just decided to hand-deliver me a paper without saying anything. I obviously have evidence. I don’t understand how you can come to a conclusion and close an investigation of a residency without speaking to that person and asking them to provide any amount of proof.”

You may remember, Mauldin was the top vote-getter from the November election. She was the only candidate who collected more than 900 votes for the seat. Incumbent Carlos Barcenas, who is also the current school board vice president, had the fewest votes at 657. However, if Mauldin’s seat is vacated by the district in January, she tells Local4 that there is already district communication that would put Barcenas back in the seat on an interim basis.

It also means that Barcenas could reapply for the seat, and the board could technically appoint him back to the seat on a permanent basis. All of this, despite the voters giving Mauldin more than 300 more votes than Barcenas. It’s also important to note that the board typically elects the school board president during that first meeting of the new board, which is tentatively set for January 5.

If Barcenas is still in that seat, he’d presumably be able to vote on the leadership of the board despite being the lowest vote-getter in the election and being voted out of his seat.

”I obviously won fair and square,” Mauldin said. “Over 900 people voted for me fair and square. Carlos obviously received the lowest votes out of four people that were in Ward C, and I think that speaks volumes considering that he is the vice president of the board of education, and he received the lowest votes. And I feel like they have their motive for everything and this is another motive to try to get their way.”