Thursday, February 16, 2017

KDE process to fill board of ed seat under way

Educational District 5
The district includes voters in Precincts 3, 6 and 12
and is an area east of U.S. 641 and south of U.S. 60 East
to Fishtrap Road and continuing south of Fishtrap,
Nunn Switch and Cool Springs roads.

from Feb. 9, 2017
The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) has begun the application process to fill a recent vacancy on the Crittenden County Board of Education, and there appears to be a healthy level of interest in the seat.

Longtime board member Phyllis Orr resigned her post in January, leaving an opening on the five-member elected body. Her resignation has been officially accepted by KDE, which is accepting applications for the post through the next two weeks. In fact, a notice of vacancy has been published on the local board of education's website for several days and appears in The Crittenden Press this week.

Superintendent Vince Clark is hopeful applicants will match Orr's dedication to the position.

"She had a passion for students, staff and the community," Clark said. "To keep moving our school district forward, they have to have that compassion and passion. There are still lots of areas to continue to grow in."

Clark and the board of education will have no say in who steps in to fill Orr's role.

KDE conducts the search to fill the unexpired terms of school board members in all 173 districts. Applications must be mailed by the candidate directly to Frankfort, where an appointee will be named by the education commissioner by April 26. The only functions of the local board of education are to advertise the vacancy and make applications available to prospective board members.

A former educator, Orr had served 14 years on the board and was in the middle of her fourth term when she resigned due to health reasons. She had been unable to attend meetings for several months, and the work commitments of Bill Asbridge sometimes have left the board setting policy with only three members.

The last unexpired term filled by KDE for Crittenden County Public Schools was in 2004, when Mark Williams was tapped to fill the unexpired term of Dr. Donald Wight, who resigned his seat in December 2003, also due to failing health. At the time, he was the longest serving school board member in Kentucky.

Orr's replacement will serve until the next scheduled general election, which is not until November 2018. The seat serves Educational District 5, which includes voting Precincts 3, 6 and 12, which vote at Marion Baptist and St. William Catholic churches and Shady Grove Volunteer Fire Department.

Clark said he is aware of multiple qualified individuals interested in the seat.

To be considered, applicants must live in the district, be at least 24 with a high school diploma or GED and have been a Kentucky resident for three years. The state's anti-nepotism laws prohibit applicants who may be close relatives of board employees. A full list of requirements is available in the application packet.

Those, though, do not cover the intangibles that are needed to do the job well, Clark suggests.

"They need to realize we're all connected – parents, grandparents, farmers, business owners...," he explained.

The responsibilities of board members are quite serious. The board, which generally convenes twice a month for its regular meeting and a working session, develops policy for the school district, hires and evaluates the superintendent annually, conducts disciplinary hearings and sets tax rates among many other duties. Facing a need for school construction in the district that can be met only by a tax increase, the state-appointed board member could before their term ends be part of what is sure to be an unpopular vote to produce revenue for construction.

The person selected to fill Orr's seat must complete initial and annual training in board of education governance, which is paid by the board of education. The required number of training hours depends upon years of board experience.

Local board members earn $3,000, mileage for out-of-town conferences and receive $30 per diem for overnight trips.

Applications for the seat should be completed and postmarked by Feb. 22. KDE will schedule interviews approximately 6-15 working days after that date.  All qualified applications received before the interviews are scheduled will be considered.