Paige Shortal’s announcement that she is no longer seeking one of two vacancies on the school board in the R-XI Union School District has raised questions about what would happen if she were elected to the board in finishing among the top two candidates out of four.
Shortal withdrew from the April 5 school board election on March 5, missing the official deadline, so her name will still appear on the ballot, Franklin County Clerk Tim Baker said.
According to board policy adopted in 2002 and last revised in 2016, Shortal — or anyone else elected but not willing to serve — should file a letter of resignation with the board secretary. The board will declare a position vacant when the letter of resignation is presented to it at a board meeting.
The third-place candidate in the April 5 election would not automatically fill the vacancy.
Once the vacancy is official, the board’s vacancy policy, which was approved in 1987 and last revised in 2020, comes into effect. He asks the board to appoint a member to serve until the next school board election, when another race will be scheduled to fill the remainder of the term.
In this case, the election would take place in April 2023 to complete the last two years of the mandate.
The board has a process to follow to fill the vacancy, although it can vote to use a different process “due to when the vacancy is or other relevant reasons”, according to the policy.
The policy includes announcing the notification of the vacancy at a council meeting, posting the vacancy on the district’s website, and sending a notice to the newspaper. The district may also send email or other communications to the community. The notification should include information on how residents can fill the vacancy and give them at least two weeks to apply.
The Board will consider nominations for membership of the Board at its regular meeting or at a special meeting called for the purpose of considering nominations. If the members of the jury wish to interview candidates, this will be done in public session. The discussion of the candidates must also take place in public session.
The new board member would be chosen by vote of the board. The board member who resigns cannot participate in choosing a successor, according to the policy.
When she stood down as a candidate, Shortal endorsed incumbents Karen Gail Tucker and Bernard Everett “Ben” Fox, who are both running for re-election.
David Aguilar is also in the running.
Shortal said Thursday she should review the board’s policy on how members are replaced before deciding whether or not to step down, should she be elected.