BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – The Fort Madison School district has a full board once again.
After the tragic death of board member Gayla Young on Jan. 1, the board had 30 days to fill the spot by appointment, or a special election would have been required by state code.
On Monday, the board appointed 34-year-old Josh Wykert of Fort Madison to fill Young’s vacancy. Wykert is currently pursuing a master’s degree in finance and is a financial officer with Cryotech Deicing in rural Fort Madison.
Wykert said after the meeting he was happy to be selected and looks forward to working on the board. He said there are several things he’d like to get done on the board.
“There’s a lot of good things going on, but I think there are also some things we can improve on,” Wykert said.
He said the district is in need of a new elementary school and will lend his efforts to that task.
“I think technology is something we need to look at and then we need to improve on standardized testing and take the qualifiers out of it. We should strive to be the best in the area, in the region and in the state,” he said.
Wykert’s seat on the board, along with Brian Steffensmeier’s seat, will both be up for election at either the next regular board election in November or during a special election, such as a bond referendum. Steffensmeier filled a vacancy created when former board member Jillian Troxel left the district.
According to board secretary Sandy Elmore, a special election would be to fill the remainder of Young’s and Troxel’s terms, which expire in 2021. However, at the next regular election, the board members could run to fill the vacancy or for a full board term.
Brad Menke and Trisha Hopper, both of Fort Madison, also filed applications for the vacancy. Menke got two votes from the board and Hopper got one.
Board members Carol Ross, Dr. Tim Wondra, and Lois DiPrima voted for Wykert. Jared Hotopp and Brian Steffensmeier voted for Menke, and Dianne Hope voted for Hopper. All three candidates were nominated and seconded by current board members.
The school district is working toward a spring elementary school bond referendum which would put both vacancies on the ballot with the referendum. Other candidates could file for that election as well.
Menke, who was a candidate in the last regular election said he will be running in the upcoming election.