New board mem­ber will wait un­til Nov.

The Community Connection - - FRONT PAGE - By Evan Brandt ebrandt@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @PottstownNews on Twit­ter

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.

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