At Monday's school board meeting, At-Large Trustee Stephanie Spivey's chair was vacant. Her name plate was placed off to the side. It's become a common event in recent months as Spivey said she's been planning to move to North Carolina.
Spivey said she missed this week's meeting to care for her sick mother.
"We're transitioning, so that is the plan. I've been spending time with my mother who is ill and we're working on relocating and it's a transitional period, so that's what's going on," said Spivey in a phone interview from New Orleans.
Minutes from recent board meetings available on the board's website indicate the last time Spivey attended a board meeting in person was March 15.
"That's not true, so before you do that I know you're about to run that soon, that's not an accurate statement. I've been at meetings in March, April and May, yes I have. There has not been a month that's gone by that I have not attended. Those attendance records are on Board Docs and they are public information," said Spivey.
The records indicate she's phoned in to meetings on April 25 and May 7, however she could not vote on agenda items because she was not present. Spivey maintains she attended at least one meeting each month in person.
"No that's not including that [teleconferencing] and according to policy and law the attendance via teleconference counts. And I have...April that is not accurate. I have been, so I would really appreciate you double check that because that's not accurate at all," said Spivey.
Audio recordings, also available on the board's website, confirmed Spivey was not present.
In 2009, Spivey was appointed to join the city's Redevelopment Commission as a representative of the school board. The commission works to remove blight and encourage development in the city.
Records show in 2009, Spivey missed half of the commission's twenty meetings where she was expected to appear. In 2010 she missed 14 of the 24 meetings. In 2011 she missed 16 meetings. The last meeting she was recorded as present was on July 26, 2011.
"It was very inconvenient for me to make some of those meetings and it was the middle of the day," said Spivey.
She pointed out she does not have a vote on the commission and blamed a miscommunication by Mayor Pete Buttigieg for why she didn't attend any meetings this year.
"There was a little bit of confusion at the beginning of the year. My initial appointment was made by Mayor Luecke and with the new election came a new appointment by the mayor, which as I said there was confusion with regard to policy versus state law so I would like to defer that to the mayor," said Spivey.
Spivey said she will discuss her resignation with the board president and other members after commencement next month. Meanwhile, despite her absence, she will continue to serve the city.
"I am prepared to speak to my colleagues on my board with regards to a vacancy, announcing a vacancy, my vacancy better yet," said Spivey.
Prior to the interview, NewsCenter 16 attempted to contact Spivey at the address she has listed. Her home appeared unoccupied and no one responded to the doorbell. A neighbor said Spivey hadn't been there in a while, but her husband was there from time-to-time. They also reported seeing moving trucks last month.
Board bylaws stipulate her position can be considered vacant if she no longer a resident of the corporation. Despite the move to North Carolina, Spivey maintained she is still a resident of the South Bend Community School Corporation.
"We are legal residents of this State of Indiana as well as we're homeowners. Everything is still compliant," said Spivey. "We are transitioning from South Bend. Our home is still occupied. We're still living there. Yes, there were moving trucks there back and forth as I said before we still own our home, our home is still occupied."
Spivey also maintained she is still serving the city's children well even though she hasn't been there recently to vote on agenda items or attended commission meetings.
"I feel I’m representing my constituency and the district quite well, I do believe I stand on my voting record, which is solid." said Spivey.