The District 117 School Board had very little time to grieve before its members had to begin making plans on how to replace a college following the sudden death of a board member this week.
The District 117 School Board met in a regularly scheduled session last night, barely 24 hours after many had heard of the sudden passing of board member Steve Cantrell Tuesday evening.
The school board is required to find a replacement within 60 days. School Board President Noll Beard said following the meeting, as much as no one present wanted to take on the topic so soon, the work of the board had to carry on.
“Well, we basically have to start the process as soon as the vacancy occurs. And this is such a tragic event and loss, we really would prefer to push it off if we could but we can’t.
We did discuss tonight that the tentative schedule will be that we will open up for resumes, letters of interest, etc. starting next week. That will come out with a firm schedule at our next meeting next Wednesday. We will probably allow a ten to twelve-day time frame so that we have time to discuss it, review them, potentially bring in candidates to interview, and then with the possibility of even having a decision made by our October meeting.
We will definitely have a decision made before our November meeting so that we can hopefully seat the new person at either of those meetings.”
The board had already scheduled a special meeting next Wednesday, September 28th to hold the public budget hearing before approving the budget for the new fiscal year.
Beard says the board intends to add an action item to the agenda outlining the process and setting the time frame for candidates to apply. He says with this being an election year, the need to find a replacement can become a bit more problematic.
“Steve’s seat would have been up and we really kind of anticipated that he would have run for reelection. So the discussion has been to whether we will give preference to someone who’s not running versus someone who may be running.
Some people have that sense that seating someone on the board who is interested in running for the board may have a little conflict or be given a little bit of an edge.”
Tentatively the board has set aside Wednesday, October 12th as the date they will call a special meeting to meet with any candidates and even possibly make a decision.
Because of the close proximity to the election this year and the short length of term left to serve, the board is allowed to appoint someone to fill the position for the remainder of the term.
Discussion on the matter was held during the committee of the whole meeting. The board then opened the regular business meeting with a moment of silence for Steve Cantrell, followed by a few moments of board members sharing their thoughts and memories of Steve before moving on to the stated business.
The special meeting to approve the budget and officially set guidelines for filling the open seat will be held in the Central Office Meeting Room on West State Street beginning at 5:00 pm next Wednesday.