The Onteora Board of Education is now short two trustees after a longtime board member resigned while another seat awaits a recount of the May 17 election.
“After a lot of careful thought and because of some really wonderful developments in my professional as well as my personal life, I am going to be stepping down from the board after 14 years,” Trustee Laurie Osmond said at a recent board meeting.
Osmond had hoped to resign in time for four seats to be up for grabs in the recent election, but ballots had already been printed for some locations. Her resignation was effective May 18.
“I would encourage all of the board candidates who do not get elected to the three vacant seats to please apply for appointment to my seat,” she said. “I’d like to thank all of the trustees past and present who I’ve served with, all of the student reps and all of the Onteora staff…It’s going to be very strange after 14 years of unpaid volunteer service to not be a regular part of this, although I will not be a stranger to the schools, as people in my life move through them.”
Board President Kevin Salem jokingly thanked Osmond for “dragging me into this, much to the chagrin, I’m sure, of a few people here.”
On a more serious not, Salem noted serving on the School Board is a very worthwhile way to fulfill one’s civic duty.
“It’s all about the students, and as long as everybody keeps that perspective, it’s all good,” Osmond said.
Still waiting for election results
Meanwhile, the district still doesn’t know who will fill the seat left vacant when Trustee Bennet Ratcliff resigned after being elected to the Woodstock Town Board.
After the May 17 election, only four votes separate Leon Savage, who received 349 votes and Kristy Taylor, who garnered 345. Due to a counting error discovered at two polling places, eight ballots are in question and School Board has requested a recount from the state commissioner of education.
Complicating matters further is the fact that Savage has indicated he is unable to serve if elected. State education law does not dictate that the seat automatically goes to the candidate with the next highest number of votes if an elected trustee declines to serve. The seat would remain vacant while the School Board chooses how to fill it.
The board is seeking candidates to fill Osmond’s seat until May 16, 2023. If the appointed trustee chooses to remain on the board he or she must run in that year’s election.
Candidates should send a letter of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org by June 7.
To qualify, candidates must be able to read and write, must be a qualified district voter of at least 18 years of age, not judged incompetent, and must have served his or her sentence if a convicted felon.
Candidates also must have been a district resident for a continuous period of at least one year and must not have been removed from any school district office within the prior year.
Candidates must not live with another member of the same school board and must not be a current school district employee or simultaneously hold another incompatible public office.