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Petition seeks to reverse Jim Torrey's appointment to 4J board

A petition calling on the Eugene School District 4J board to reverse Jim Torrey's controversial appointment is circulating online, gathering hundreds of signatures.

Posted: Aug 14, 2019 11:01 AM
Updated: Aug 14, 2019 6:19 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- A petition calling on the Eugene School District 4J board to reverse Jim Torrey's controversial appointment is circulating online, gathering hundreds of signatures.

The petition was created by 4J Parents for Due Process. It demands Torrey's removal from the board, adherence to transparent selection processes, and the release of all emails regarding the appointment. 

"It is unethical and tone-deaf for the school board to fill a vacancy with the incumbent that the voters clearly rejected through the ballot box in May, and again rejected throughout the extensive appointment process," the petition reads. 

RELATED: COMMUNITY DIVIDED AFTER 4J APPOINTS JIM TORREY TO BOARD

Torrey was chosen by the board in a meeting on Aug. 8, against some residents' wishes that the school board increase Latino representation by selecting finalist Maya Rabasa.

"I'm not saying that he doesn't have a good heart, or that his heart isn't in the right place. I just think that he's been speaking for a certain side for too long, and he has his own agenda to stick to," said 4J parent and former minority board member Isiah Wagoner.

Torry was sworn in on Thursday and has already sat as a member of the board for a meeting and other functions.

"I'm in place, and I don't intend to resign," he told KEZI 9 News. "Give me a chance to show you that what I've done in the past is what I can do in the future."

4J officials said that there's no policy in place for the board to remove one of its own members. Residents would need to begin recall efforts to remove a member.

Wagoner hasn't signed the petition, but he still has his reservations about Torrey.

"But I think this issue mostly pertains to what we are going to do with children who are struggling at the bottom, and how are we going to see that these kids get the proper needing and attention that they deserve," said Wagoner. "I think that's why he was replaced initially with someone who could see where we were at with our values."

Torrey told KEZI 9 News last week that he was considering implementing a system of meetings with minority communities to ensure their needs are met. 

"I am going to reach out to every community of color," he said Wednesday.

Torrey is slated to hold the position until June 2021.

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