Filling School Board Vacancies: An Open Letter to the NSSD112 Board of Education
As an interested observer of the NSSD112 School Board, as well as a voice in the approaching Board election, CARE views the question of filling two vacant Board seats as very much a voter issue.
To summarize the current situation: Jacqueline Denham’s resignation from the Board left a vacant seat that is up for election in April; Michael Cohn’s resignation created an open seat with more than a two-year term remaining. Rules allow remaining Board members to solicit applications from the community and appoint individuals to vacant seats, presumably so the Board may function at full capacity between elections.
CARE urges the Board to take the current election into account when exercising its appointment power. Accordingly, CARE asks the Board to consider filling the soon-to-expire Denham seat with an individual who is not running in the April election, because giving a current candidate the advantage of incumbency at this point could demonstrate a bias.
As the Cohn vacancy differs substantially from the Jacqueline Denham seat based on the 2+years remaining, CARE suggests very different considerations. If the Board must fill this seat before the election, CARE believes that it should appoint someone with strong, broad community support, specifically the one clear consensus candidate running in the upcoming election. Brent Ross, a member of the Reconfiguration 2.0 Committee, is the only candidate (from a field of ten) who received endorsements from two distinct community caucuses. Moreover, thanks to CARE’s decision to publish all candidate responses regarding configuration and other priorities, voters have already had a chance to at least somewhat vet Brent Ross.
CARE respectfully submits these recommendations to the Board in hopes of balancing Board authority with voter prerogatives.
Jeff Hamburg, on behalf of CARE
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