WXXI AM News

RCSD seeks candidates for board vacancy

Nov 22, 2017

School Board President Van White & newly-elected board member Natalie Sheppard
Credit Randy Gorbman / WXXI News

The Rochester School Board has launched a search to fill an upcoming board vacancy. That’s because longtime member Malik Evans won a city on City Council.  As of Tuesday, November 21, the board is accepting applications to fill that spot.

It’s expected that the school board will vote on someone to fill the board slot in January.  That person would have to run in the general election next year, and if they wanted to stay on for a full term, they would have to run again in 2019.

Natalie Sheppard was just elected to the school board this past November. She admits that running for the seat isn’t easy, but she says whoever is chosen to fill the vacancy will already have some on the job training under their belt.

“So they will actually get an opportunity if chosen to come and see how to work with the board, and then prepare themselves to run and I think that, that would give them more encouragement and probably more stamina because now they’ve been in the position and they know what it’s going to require past the finish line, I would say," Sheppard said.

Sheppard is new to the process, she was elected to the school board without prior political experience.

School Board President Van White says that although it has a ways to go, the district is moving in the right direction, and he cited progress made at schools like East High and Edison Tech.

But the district also learned recently that due to poor performance, School 41 must be placed under an independent receiver, close, or the district will need to seek permission from the state to come up with a different type of school.

White says that's obviously a challenge, but he feels people in the district are up for it.

“We as a community, that’s the key here, as a community, we said, this is not our city, this is not our district, and the community responded. And we don’t know exactly what’s going to happen at 41, we’re deliberating about it, but I think in the end, what you’re going to see is that the community is responding."

The school board has 30 days to fill the open board seat, which means it should happen in January. If the board doesn't do that, than the school board president would make that decision.

Board officers are chosen in January, and White says if he is picked again to lead the board, he would still push for the full board, rather than just the president, to decide who should fill the vacant slot.

The deadline for applications to be considered for the open board seat is December 8.