New board member will wait until Nov.
POTTSTOWN >> Where else but in Pottstown will it take until November to replace a school board member who announced his intention to resign in August?
Despite a month’s warning and two resignations in the last two years, the school board is moving forward with what might be described as “all deliberate speed” to choose a replacement for Emanuel Wilkerson on the Pottstown School Board.
Last month, Wilkerson, who was first elected at age 18 while still a student at Pottstown High School, announced he would resign to focus on his studies at Temple University.
However, the resignation is not effective until Oct. 1. He said at the time, he wanted to give the district and board fair warning and enough time to prepare for the transition.
Apparently, they’re taking him up on that. Under the current schedule, it will be 14 weeks from the time Wilkerson announced his intention in August, and eight weeks from the time his resignation became official, until a vote is taken to replace him.
Although he is still in his
first four-year term, Wilkerson has technically served for five years when his two years as a non-voting student member of the board are included in the calculation.
The person chosen to replace him will serve until December 2019, and must run in the spring primary and, if successful, for a full fouryear term in November 2019 if he or she wishes to remain on the school board for a full four-year term, explained solicitor Stephen Kalis.
At the Sept. 20 board meeting, the board voted, reluctantly, to accept Wilkerson’s resignation.
But deciding on a schedule to replace him did not come easily.
Although the law allows the board to appoint whomever it chooses, it is supposed to be done within 30 days of the resignation, said Kalis.
With the most recent vacancies, the board has chosen to ask for applicants, interviewed them publicly and then voted on the replacement.
“We really have no reason to drag our feet,” said School Board President Amy Francis.
Nevertheless, the board will wait until nearly a month from last week’s meeting — Thursday, Oct. 25 — to interview candidates for the position.
They will not vote on Wilkerson’s replacement until their next scheduled meeting on Nov. 15. And it is not yet clear whether the lucky new board member will even be sworn in that night based on the discussions at the Sept. 20 meeting.
And although, as of Sept. 26, there is no information yet posted on the district web site about how to apply, John Armato, board member and director of community relations, did reveal that the deadline to submit a letter of interest is Oct. 15.
A letter of interest with resume should be mailed or hand-delivered to the Pottstown Board Secretary, 230 Beech St., Pottstown, PA, he said.
According to state law, anyone wishing to replace Wilkerson on the board need only be at least 18 years of age, have lived in the school district for one year and be of “good character,” Kalis said.
Wilkerson’s resignation is the second this year.
In March, board member Ron Williams resigned and former board member Kim Stilwell was chosen from among four applicants to replace him. Although it took three votes to reach the fivevote majority needed to appoint her, the entire process only took one month.
The resignation prior to that was the 2016 resignation of Andrew Kefer.
Current board member Susan Lawrence, who has since been elected to a full term in her own right, was selected, but only after the administration revealed that it had twice lost email applications for the post.
That process took seven weeks.