BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – While the Fort Madison City Council looks to fill a vacancy on the council, the Fort Madison School Board is now looking to fill a vacancy as well.
At Monday’s regular meeting of the Fort Madison Board of Education, the board accepted the resignation of Jillian Troxel effective Aug. 1.
The resignation then kick starts a process for filling the position with either an appointment or a special election.
Superintendent Erin Slater said filling the position by appointment would give the board until Aug. 31 to select someone to fill the seat. District residents would have the option to petition the board for a special election within two weeks of the resignation, which would be Tuesday, Aug. 14. An appointee would fill Troxel’s seat until the next regular school board election, where a person would then be elected to fill out the remainder of Troxel’s term, which would be Dec. 31, 2021.
However, if the district puts another bond election on the calendar, according to state code, the seat would be put up for election at the same time. The district is still contemplating another run at a bond referendum to build a new elementary school on school property adjacent to the Fort Madison Middle School.
“That term could be…will be… interrupted with a school bond referendum, then anyone else could petition to be placed on there as a candidate,” said Board Member Dianne Hope.
The board directed district Business Manager, Sandy Elmore to publish a notice that the district will be seeking applications for the seat.
“I really feel an appointment is the way to go,” said board member Gayla Young. “Elections are expensive and, unless the community petitions us, I think an appointment is the right way to go.”
Board President Tim Wondra said the timeline is short, so he hopes the board gets some candidates for consideration.
“The next board meeting is Aug. 20, so hopefully we’ll have candidates express interest and fill out information by the 20th and then that night we could conduct interviews in open session and appoint someone that night. That would be the ultimate goal,” Wondra said.
Hope said the board wouldn’t necessarily need to do interviews.
“When I read this, we only need to review what the written application is and then make the appointment during the board meeting. We wouldn’t have to interview, we can make it based on what has been provided and we only have to make the appointment within 30 days.”
Slater said they could review the materials and then invite the candidates to the meeting and give them three to five minutes to address the board and give a statement about their candidacy.
Young said she would personally like to have the candidates there and speak for themselves.
Wondra said applications should be ready by the end of the week and interested parties should contact the district for information on the application process.
In other action, the council:
• approved 6-0, a three-year contract renewal for Superintendent Erin Slater effective July 16, with a 1.56% increase over last year’s salary and annual pay review. Her new salary will be $180,776.80 for 2018-19.
• approved 6-0, handbooks for AFSCME and Teamster Units 1 and 2 staff. Handbooks outline what used to be in contracts before the state legislature changed Chapter 20 to just include salary negotiations. AFSCME representative Tracy Leonie spoke to the board about working in collaboration when dealing with state legislatures because it was still AFSCME’s stance that the handbooks should revert back to contracts.
• approved 6-0, extracurricular contracts and letters of assignments. Extracurricular contracts are amounts paid to staff already on contract with the district for leading or coaching extracurriculars. Letters of assigments are amounts paid to those not otherwise on contract with the district.