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School board needs to fill short-term vacancy

By Judy Reed

Do you want to be on the Cedar Springs Board of Education? Now that certified election results are back, they have an open seat to fill for a term of only 21 days. 

They will be accepting applications for the vacancy until noon on December 10. If it’s decided they need to do interviews, you will be contacted no later than 4 p.m. that day, and the interviews would take place that evening at 6:45 p.m. For more info please click here.

So why is there an opening for only 21 days—December 10 through December 31?

According to Superintendent Scott Smith, it’s because of the way the law is written regarding appointed and elected positions. 

Two seats were up for election this year: seat #5 and seat #6. The people who won those seats will start their terms in January. Mistie Bowser and Jeff Rivard won those four-year terms.

The other two seats voted on were #2 and #7. Those were appointed seats, where someone left this year but their term was not up at the end of this year and the person appointed had to run for the seat again in November. The people who won those seats (Tracie Slager and Trent Gilmore) will start serving immediately since the term was not up.

Traci Slager was appointed in early 2018 to seat #2 to replace Ted Sabinas, and after winning seat #2 in the November election, she will serve out the remaining four years. She will take office immediately since the term was not up.

Mistie Bowser was elected to seat #5. Matt McConnon has been serving in that seat. He was appointed to fill that seat when Patricia Eary resigned. The term was up at the end of this year. McConnon did not run for it because he wanted to run for Courtland Township Supervisor. Mistie Bowser ran for the position and she will serve a four-year term starting in January.

Here is where it gets tricky. Jeff Rivard and Trent Gilmore did not run for the seats they were serving in. They ran for each other’s seats. One was an appointed seat where the term was not up, and the other was one due for election this year.

Jeff Rivard was appointed earlier this year to seat #7 to replace Tim Bauer, who had been appointed to replace Michelle Bayink, whose term was not up until 2020. When Rivard ran for election, however, he ran for seat #6, because the term on that seat was up. He will start serving a four-year term in that seat in January. 

Trent Gilmore was appointed this summer to seat #6 to replace Brook Nichols. Her term was to be over Dec. 31. When Gilmore ran for election, he actually ran for seat #7, the one currently held by Rivard, which is an appointed seat. So, Gilmore will take office immediately, and serve the final two years of the term for seat #7. Which means seat #6, won by Rivard, will be open because Rivard won’t begin to serve until January.

The remaining board members’ seats won’t be up for election until 2020 (Matthew Shoffner and Shannon Vanderhyde) and 2022 (Heidi Reed).

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