Debbie Blackburn, who has been serving as a Carbon School District Board member during some very turbulent times in the area, publicly announced on Wednesday night that she will be resigning from the Board of Education.
"I have sold my house and will be moving to Provo," she said in a short announcement during the a scheduled board meeting. "I promised Barry (Deeter, school board president) that I would hang around for at least the October board meeting before I left entirely."
Deeter, who began the announcement - which wasn't listed on the agenda - said that it was tough to see Blackburn go.
"This is a very hard thing to do," he said. "This is a bad part of this meeting. We will miss her."
Deeter said that the board would be posting the position so that citizens of the area Blackburn represented can apply to fill her position. Once appointed by the board, that individual will serve in the position until 2012, when the next election cycle for the position will come open. Deeter said that they hope to have the job filled by October.
Blackburn was first elected to the board in November of 2002 in a closely contested election with Sam Chiara. In the 2004 election cycle she was unopposed, and then in 2008 she defeated Maurine Tanner to keep the seat.
Blackburn lamented leaving, but feels it is the best thing for her and her family.
"My kids are spread all over the place, with many of them being in Salt Lake so I want to be nearer to them," she said after the meeting.
Blackburn has spent over 30 years living in the area, raised eight kids and all were educated in the public school system in Carbon County. Her experience as a mother working through the school system and the empathy she has had for others doing the same thing has shown through many times when the consideration of district issues were discussed.
Blackburn has worked with four superintendents during her time in office, Boyd Bell, David Armstrong, Patsy Bueno and George Park (who is presently on adminstrative leave). Bueno is filling in temporarily after having retired in May.
She has also, along with other board members, some of whom are still on the board, faced some difficult situations over the years. Probably the most controversial issue that arose during her tenure was the closing of East Carbon High School in 2005. She also faced a difficult decision when Armstrong's contract was not renewed the next year. Just recently (April) the decision by the board to hire Park as superintendent has turned controversial as well, with his arrest in August and charges that he mishandled public money while superintendent of Garfield School District in southern Utah.
Nonetheless, Blackburn says she has really enjoyed serving on the board and watching the education system in the county improve in so many ways.
"I will miss this," she said.