Next week the five remaining members of the Riverside Elementary School District 96 Board of Education will interview six of the nine applicants for the two vacancies on the school board.
Scheduled to be interviewed at a special meeting on Sept. 30 are Juliet Boyd, Alan Hu, Dan Hunt, Robert McCormack, Rich Regan and Jason Zak.
Not getting interviews are Martha Carlson, Shari Klyber, and Lynda Murphy, the co-president of the Central School PTO.
Boyd was the only one of the four women who applied to fill the vacancies who is still in contention. All five men who applied are still in the running and are being interviewed.
Board member Randy Brockway said that people shouldn’t read anything into that.
“Diversity is important to us, but it can’t be the ruling thing,” Brockway said.
All six applicants who are being interviewed have full-time jobs while the three who are not being interviewed do not.
Klyber, a former high school science teacher, Carlson and Murphy all have been active in schools or PTAs or PTOs, a fact that may have worked against them, as some on the school board appear to be wary of candidates who might be too influenced by administrators.
Carlson, Klyber and Murphy all declined to comment when asked how they felt about being passed over.
The school board reviewed the applications of all nine applicants in closed session during their Sept. 16 meeting. School board President Mary Rose Mangia said that it was not that difficult to decide which applicants to interview.
“We did not have a lot of disagreement,” Mangia said. “We had pretty much unanimity on who we were going to interview and who we won’t.”
However, board member Art Perry didn’t quite agree with that assessment.
“Consensus is an interesting thing,” said Perry. “I would have gone with all nine or my top six would have been totally different than the list that came out, but that’s what we agreed to. I don’t think that’s the same as unanimous.”
Some board members wanted to interview all nine applicants.
“There were some who wanted to interview all nine,” Brockway said.
That might have been done had a Sept. 23 meeting of the board not been canceled due to scheduling conflicts.
According to a press release, the board expects to select the two new members of the school board on Sept. 30 after interviewing the six remaining contenders.
That decision pretty much ensures that the vote on the replacement school board members will take place late at night when not many members of the public are likely to present. The new board members will be sworn in at a special meeting on Oct. 7 before a regularly scheduled meeting of the board’s education committee.
The two new members of the school board will replace Lisa Gaynor and David Kodama who both abruptly resigned their seats on the same day last month. The new members will serve at least until next spring.
Their seats will be up for election, along with the seats now held by Perry and Michael O’Brien, in April 2015.
Perry said that he hopes that all nine people who applied to fill the vacancies run for the school board next year.
“All of the candidates had really good credentials and I feel very confident that they have the best interests of the district at the very top of their mind,” Perry said. “Obviously the board has work to do between now and April, but in the end the voters need to choose. This is merely an interim stopgap because we have to fill those positions.”