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A special meeting of the District 202 School Board is scheduled for tonight, July 1 at 6 p.m., to discuss how to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Bill Geiger.
Board policy states that three members of the Board can request a special meeting. Members Jonathan Baum, Doug Holt and Gretchen Livingston did just that.
“We believe that time is of the essence, if we are to fulfill our responsibility to select a Board member before 45 days have run from the date of Bill Geiger’s resignation effective July 10,” said Mr. Baum in a statement sent to the RoundTable.
The last scheduled School Board meeting of the year came to an end with no decision on who would fill the vacant position. At the June 22 meeting, which lasted less than 30 minutes, Board member Mark Metz made a motion to appoint Anne Sills. The vote failed 3-3. No other motions were made.
Ms. Sills ran for a position on the Board in the April election and came in fourth with 19% of the vote. Board members have been split on whether to set aside policy, which sets up a replacement process, and instead appoint Ms. Sills who ran for the position less than three months ago. Fourteen candidates applied for the opening and all have been interviewed by the District 202 School Board.
“As of yet, we have not appointed a School Board member,” said Pat Savage-Williams, Board president, after the motion to appoint Ms. Sills failed. She, along with Mr. Metz and Monique Parsons voted for the appointment of Ms. Sills. Gretchen Livingston, Jonathan Baum and Doug Holt voted against.
“We still have until July 10 to make a decision,” Ms. Savage-Williams told the RoundTable in a subsequent interview. “I am leaving [the process] open. I have my own opinions but I am being respectful of the process. We will have to see what happens.”
The July 1 meeting agenda posted on the District 202 webpage includes a discussion of the “Process for Selection of Member to Fill Board Vacancy” and “Appointment of School Board Member (if so agreed).”
Board members have been split on whether to set aside policy, which sets up a replacement process, and instead appoint Ms. Sills who ran for the position less than three months ago. Fourteen candidates applied for the opening and all have been interviewed by the District 202 School Board.
“I am looking forward to a full consideration of all candidates who have applied,” Ms. Livingston told the RoundTable. “It is a credit to the community that we had 14 people apply who have a wide range of skills. I am very hopeful that we come to an agreement.”
In order to be elected to fill the Board vacancy, a candidate must win 4 of the 6 votes from the Board. The vote must be conducted in an open session.
If no decision is made by the July 10 deadline, the election will be turned over to Regional Superintendent Bruce Brown who will then have 30 days to make the appointment.
“I hope we don’t get to that point, that we can come to a conclusion,” said Ms. Savage-Williams.
District 202 School Board Policy on Filling Vacancies
Section 5/10-10 of the Illinois School Code provides that when a school board member resigns from the board, “”the remaining members shall … proceed to fill the vacancy …”” Section 5/1/-10 goes on to state, “”Should they fail so to act, within 45 days after the vacancy occurs, the regional superintendent of schools … shall within 30 days after the remaining members have failed to fill the vacancy, fill the vacancy as provided for herein.””
Section 2.70 of the District 202 School Board’s Policies provides that when a member of the School Board resigns, “”the remaining members … shall fill the vacancy … “”
Section 2:70E contains a “”checklist for filling vacancies by appointment.”” The checklist includes that the Board “”Develop a list of qualifications for appointments of a person to fill vacancy,”” “”Create Board member vacancy announcement,”” “”Publicize vacancy announcement …,”” “”Accept and review applications from prospective candidates,”” “”Contact appropriate applicants for interviews,”” “”Develop interview questions,”” “”Conduct interviews with candidates,”” and “”Fill vacancy by a vote during an open meeting of the Board before the 45th day (105 ILCS 5/10-10).””