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School board seeks best fit for vacancy
School board seeks best fit for vacancy
By TONY LANGE
An abrupt resignation from 24-year Solon School Board member Dorothy Seibert last week opened the application process to appoint her successor by the four remaining board members.
In her resignation letter, submitted one-day before her May 1 withdrawal, Mrs. Seibert cited the sale of her Solon home as the reason for her departure.
Barely six months before placing her home on the market, she filed petitions last Aug. 10 with the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections to run for her seventh four-year term as a Solon School Board member.
In announcing her resignation, Mrs. Seibert said, "When we placed our home on the market in late February, we had no idea when it would sell. We had heard so many stories about homes taking years to sell."
Her 3,500-square-foot home in the North Hill neighborhood sold May 2 for $432,500. The Cleveland Housing News described homes in the subdivision to be at a premium when they are for sale, "as they don't come on the market very often, and the ones that do tend to sell quickly."
In November's general election, when three school board seats were contested by two incumbents and five challengers, Julie S. Glavin was re-elected with 4,285 votes, former Solon Mayor Kevin C. Patton was elected to the school board with 3,601 votes, and Mrs. Seibert was re-elected with 3,537 votes.
Out of the running, former Solon Mayor Robert A. Paulson finished fourth with 2,496 votes, followed by John Heckman with 1,873, Ken Myers with 1,701 and Chris Bryant with 1,483 votes.
Submitting his letter of interest last Friday to fill Mrs. Seibert's seat, Mr. Paulson said, hopefully, his third time is a charm to become a school board member.
Although the board is required to select Mrs. Seibert's successor within 30 days, the law also stipulates that the board may not vote on a replacement for at least 10 days. The newly appointed member would have to be retained by voters in the November 2013 election to serve the remaining two years of the four-year term.
Mr. Paulson was passed over by school board members in July 2007, when Mrs. Seibert, Mrs. Glavin, Margo Morrow and Marilyn Thomas unanimously appointed Roger Goudy to replace resigned board member Linda Wise.
In the November 2007 general election, Mr. Paulson lost to Dr. Goudy by 2,591-2,581 in a recount, according to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.
Dr. Goudy did not run for re-election last November.
"I think, not only the confident voter support that I had in 2007 and 2011 but my demonstrated support and work for the district, I certainly hope that the remaining board members can see that I am not entitled but deserving of the appointment," Mr. Paulson said. "I think everything I've done, both as mayor and on the various school committees and levy committees, that I am deserving of filling this vacant seat."
School board President Mrs. Morrow, who was appointed to the board in April 1997 to succeed resigned board member Karen Benedetti, said the Ohio Revised Code does not require board members to go back to a prior election when considering an appointed position.
"I just want to let the process play out and see who applies. I could tell you the last time, when there were 14 candidates, they were all excellent people," she said about the 2007 appointment process. "It was a tough decision, and I'm just going to let the process play out. I would not want to speculate on what's going to happen. This process works, and we'll just see how it goes."
Mrs. Thomas, who served alongside Mrs. Seibert all 24 of her years, said the board is looking to appoint a team player who will serve in the best interest of Solon students and the community.
"I think everybody should be considered, from Mr. Paulson to whoever puts their application in," she said. "The board is going to decide through the process what's the best fit for the Solon school system. We don't take that lightly, believe me. But that means that everyone has a fair chance."
Mrs. Glavin said the qualities of a good board member are many and varied.
"That list would include but is not limited to a visionary, a good listener and a consensus builder -- someone who understands and values the dynamic of the Solon City Schools," she said. "The Solon Board of Education prides itself on the ability to work together, without personal agendas, to provide a positive atmosphere in which students and staff are continually challenged to achieve excellence. The success of this school district is the direct result of a supportive and accountable board of education that consistently provides solution-oriented leadership."
More people run for appointed board positions than elected board positions, because Solon residents are very pleased with the consistency of the school district, Mrs. Morrow said.
"The people we have are doing a good job, and they're not looking for a change," Mrs. Morrow said about other leaders in the community. "Now that a seat is open, it's different than an election."
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