On Tuesday, March 12, Petz told the Tracy Press that the school district meeting on Thursday would be his last.
The 52-year-old has been a trustee since 1997 and board president since 2007. New Jerusalem — a rural school district southeast of Tracy — has 3,400 students.
“Situations have changed and circumstances have changed a bit, and it’s all good,” Petz said. “It’s time now for the next group of parents to take an active role. … There’s lots of great talent in our community.”
While Petz was not specific about his reason for leaving, New Jerusalem Superintendent Jim Thoming said the longtime board member was planning to open another branch of Petz Enterprises, a tax software company headquartered in Tracy that has offices across the country.
Thoming, superintendent since 2006, said the remainder of the three-person board will work quickly to fill Petz’s vacant seat.
He said the school district doesn’t know when it will begin accepting applications, but he said top candidates should be interviewed “probably in April,” during which a replacement will be chosen.
Board members Steve Bogetti and William Koster will screen the applicants.
According to Thoming, trustees receive no stipend, paycheck or health benefits.
“It really is a service type of position, because it’s all give,” he said. “They’re doing it because they want to serve and be a part of it.”
The superintendent said Petz was one of the trustees who paved the way for the school district pioneering charter schools in San Joaquin County.
In addition to New Jerusalem School, the district board oversees New Jerusalem Charter, Delta Charter High and four other charter schools, including the all-online California Virtual Academy.
“We were one of the very few to operate charter schools except for the county office of education,” he said. “It gives parents choice in where they want their child to go to school.”
Petz said he was proud to have played a part in helping the district grow, which he said helped it avoid some of the cuts other school districts have suffered.
“I was on the board when those opportunities came to us, and we were fortunate enough to have some very bright superintendents on board to help us be able to achieve that,” he said. “(Growth has) really allowed us to add programs and expand programs over this period of time, when a lot of school districts have been cutting programs and laying off teachers.”
Petz, whose family traces its Tracy-area history back at least 80 years, said his successor will need to meet many challenges at once as the district grows.
“They’re going to have to be flexible,” he said. “There’s never a certain, set future for us.”
• Contact Jon Mendelson at 835-3030 or firstname.lastname@example.org.