Wolf Creek board must fill vacancy

It’s not too often that a school district doesn’t get enough candidates to fill all its board positions in an election, but it does happen often enough that the process to fill the vacancy is governed by state law.

The terms of two board of education members for Wolf Creek Local Schools expire in January, but only one candidate ran in the Nov. 7 election. Now the district is seeking expressions of interest from anyone living in the district who wants to serve on the board.

Superintendent Doug Baldwin has been an administrator in the district for a decade or more, and he said the only other time a board seat had to filled in this way came up because of the death of a board member. He noted that interim vacancies are not uncommon.

Marietta City Schools, which has had to recruit two board members over the past couple of years to replace members because of death or poor health, is an example. Baldwin said, however, it’s the first time in his tenure at Wolf Creek that a seat remained vacant because enough candidates weren’t filed in an election.

In the November election, the terms of Roger Doak and Cheryl McCutcheon were expiring but only Doak filed a petition to run. No one stepped forward to run for McCutcheon’s seat.

The district is advertising for expressions of interest, he said, and the four members still on the board will interview and appoint the person for the fifth seat. Baldwin said he will be involved in the interview process only if the board members ask him to, and he noted that treasurer Rachel Miller might also be asked to sit in.

The appointed member will have to commit to filing a petition in next year’s election, he said.

The board is made up of Doak, president Hugh Arnold and members Greg Adams and Jerry Barnett. Baldwin said the process is governed by a section of the Ohio Revised Code, which specifies that the appointment of another member can’t be made sooner than 10 days after its first organizational meeting at which the board seat is registered to be vacant but not later than 30 days after that meeting.

The first such meeting for Wolf Creek is scheduled for Jan. 8 in the Waterford High School library. The compensation for board members is $60 per regular meeting to a maximum of 12 meetings per calendar year.

Peggy Byers, deputy director of elections for Washington County, said Belpre City Schools is having to fill a similar vacancy. She said the situation is not infrequent among smaller districts, noting that in the November election voters in the Marietta City and Warren Local districts, the two largest in the county, had a wealth of candidates to choose from but in Frontier Local Schools, voters were offered two petitioned candidates and two write-in slots.

“People don’t file petitions or don’t get them in in time, but they get them through write-ins,” she said.

Anyone interested in sitting on the Wolf Creek board can send a letter of interest to Rachel Miller, district treasurer, at P.O. Box 67, Waterford, Ohio 45786. The deadline for applications is Dec. 31.

At a glance

Wolf Creek Local Schools

¯ One of the five board of education positions is open.

¯ District is taking expressions of interest until Dec. 31.

¯ Successful applicant will be chosen by the board members.

¯ Applicants must be of voting age and live in the district

¯ Apply by sending a letter of interest to District Treasurer Rachel Miller, P.O. Box 67, Waterford, Ohio 45786.

Source: Wolf Creek Local Schools.