By Janene Scully
Noozhawk North County Editor
Dr. John Baeke resigned as a Santa Ynez Valley Union School District trustee effective July 1.
Baeke made his announcement during a meeting in June and posted his resignation letter to his website, drbaekeforschoolboard.org.
He reportedly is relocating out of state due to his job.
“Several months ago, I was presented the opportunity of working for a large health-care organization in a capacity that would allow me to practice both as clinician and medical director,” he wrote.“My current capacity as staff plastic surgeon for Lompoc Valley Medical Center has been one of the most rewarding positions I have ever held as a physician, and my expectation was that I would finish my career there.
“However, after much prayer, discussion with my family, consideration of advice from colleagues and a site visit, I have realized this is a job offer most anyone in my position would hasten to accept.”
It’s no surprise that Baeke resigned from the school board since his patients were notified in April that he would close his Lompoc practice by late May and his residence had been listed for sale on real estate sites.
In the November 2018 election, Baeke placed third in a field of 11 candidates seeking the three openings on the five-member board.
By the time he leaves, Baeke will have 17 months left on his four-year term, which expires in late 2022.
Baeke has been at the center of controversy for a blog post criticizing a teacher, leading to his board colleagues voting to censure him.
He also has been vocal for students to return to in-person learning and in his letter argued against allowing an on-campus vaccination clinic.
“We must not allow the hysterical, politically motivated yet nonscientifically founded demands of individuals and institutions dictate how we, the school district, react in time of any health crisis without fully conferring with outside experts (real experts; considering the consequences of all options and, most important, consulting with parents,” he wrote.
The school board can consider appointing a replacement or calling a special election, an option typically rejected as being too costly and time consuming.
Baeke has not formally submitted his resignation letter.
Upon receiving the letter, the board will begin the public process of filling the empty seat, according to Board President Jan Clevenger.
Along with Clevenger, the other board members are Tory Babcock, Jose Juan Ibarra and Stephen Luke.