Newly elected Idaho Sen. Dave Lent has resigned from the Idaho Falls School District 91 board of trustees.

Lent, a Republican, beat then-incumbent Tony Potts in the primary and then Democrat Jerry Sehlke in the general election to represent District 33, which covers much of the city of Idaho Falls. His resignation from the school board doesn’t come as a surprise — he said earlier this month he planned to step down before the legislative session starts in January.

“We are saddened to see Dave Lent leave the D91 school board,” school board Chairwoman Deidre Warden said in a statement. “He has been a strong leader and has always sought solutions that bring people together rather than divide them. While we will miss Dave Lent’s presence on our board, we are proud he will continue his love of community service on the state level.”

Lent had been on the school board since 2006, representing Zone 2, which includes the areas served by Westside, Fox Hollow and Ethel Boyes elementary schools. He said he decided to run for school board after spending a number of years working on various school committees.

“I felt an opportunity to have more of an impact by being on the board,” he said.

One of the highlights of his time on the board, he said, was being there as the board discussed finding another option for the district’s high school students, which led to the creation of Compass Academy in 2012. Another, he said, was being board chairman when the board sought and got voter approval for a $53 million bond to rebuild four of the district’s elementary schools.

He also mentioned working on trying to get a high school bond passed. The district tried to get a bond passed in November 2017 and again in August to build a new Idaho Falls High School and rebuild Skyline High School but fell short both times of the needed two-thirds vote.

“I think an important thing for me on that is, I realize it is a process and it just takes time to get the community engaged and come to a collective answer,” he said.

Lent said he appreciates the district’s teachers, staff and administrators and is confident about its future.

“The district leadership is very capable, and their ... approach to the direction of the district is usually very well thought-out, and with sound basis, so I feel confident in the direction and the leadership we have in District 91,” he said.

Anyone interested in serving out the rest of Lent’s term should send a letter of interest to the district’s administrative offices, 690 John Adams Parkway. Letters are due by Dec. 21 and should include the candidate’s qualifications and the reasons he or she would like to be a trustee.

Candidates must be 18 or older, U.S. citizens, Idaho residents and Zone 2 residents. For a description of the zone or to see a map, go to ifschools.org, click “Our District” and then “Board of Trustees.”

Board members are expected to interview candidates the week of Jan. 7. The board hopes to swear in Lent’s successor at the Jan. 16 meeting. Whoever is appointed will have to stand for election in 2021 if they wish to stay on the board after that.

Reporter Nathan Brown can be reached at 208-542-6757. Follow him on Twitter: @NateBrownNews.

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