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Former Bozeman school board trustee debunks conspiracy talk, says move was an honest mistake

Posted at 6:17 PM, May 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-23 20:17:03-04

BOZEMAN — Concerns and confusion poured out from the parent community in the Bozeman School District after a former trustee’s resignation and the timing behind it.

“It’s really hard for me to believe that you all didn’t hear from Andy that he was moving, but maybe that’s the case. Maybe you didn’t know,” said a frustrated parent during Monday's school board meeting.

News broke about Andy Willett’s resignation shortly after three trustee positions were voted on during the May 4 elections.

“I moved out of the district unbeknownst to me, which sounds—it’s a bit embarrassing, frankly. The district line over there’s pretty jagged, and I just never even thought about it,” explained Willett.

But parents were confused as to how it went unnoticed since August 2020 and why after the elections, suggesting it may have been planned because now Willett’s position will have to be appointed.

"This was a public election, and if you want to strong-arm the county superintendent to get someone you want, then I think you’re going to have egg on your face. You need to stay out of it,” expressed another frustrated parent.

But Willet says the conspiracy talk is ridiculous.

“Unfortunately, we’re in a day of conspiracy theories. It’s just to me ludicrous. It had no impact in voting the last year. I thought, I felt I was a strong board member during my tenure, including last year during a very difficult year, and certainly no conspiracies,” Willett said.

So with the board still one trustee short after elections, where do they go from here?

“As a result of his moving, there is a vacancy on the board and that position will be filled until May 2022 by the county superintendent,” explained Mike Waterman, the district's director of business services.

If you or someone you know is interested in the open position, you can reach out to the county superintendent’s office.

According to state law, when district officials learned of trustee Willett's move, the vacated position would not have been able to be elected but would have had to be appointed.