During a special called meeting Monday, members of the Wayne County Board of Education voted unanimously to take applications for its District 5 seat.
The position will become vacant due to a Sept. 13 announcement by Joseph Democko, vice chairman of the board, that he plans to resign to take care of his ailing mother in New York.
His resignation is effective Oct. 1. Democko has served on the board since 2018. He was not at the meeting Monday.
“This will necessitate my presence in New York regularly for an unknown length of time, and due to these circumstances, I feel I must relinquish my position on the Wayne County Board of Education as of Oct. 1,” Democko said during the Sept. 13 meeting.
At Monday’s meeting, Chairman Chris West asked for recommendations from other board members on how to go about filling the position.
Board member Patricia Burden made a motion to follow the process the board has followed in the past for the last two vacant seats on the board — putting out an application notice, setting a time frame for receiving applications and doing interviews of all interested candidates from District 5.
The vote was unanimous to follow the procedure.
Board of Education attorney Richard Schwartz said the last time the board filled a vacancy, it gave a 14-day window for advertising the vacancy, then met eight days after the 14 days to review applications and select interview questions.
Board member Wade Leatham said as someone who’s been through that process, he thought it was the proper way to choose a new board member.
Board of Education members agreed to advertise the vacancy on the Wayne County Public Schools website Sept. 22 through 5 p.m. Oct. 6.
The board will meet at 11 a.m. Oct. 13 to filter through the applications received. West asked each board member to come with five questions for applicants, which the board will narrow down Oct. 13.
Interviews will start at 9 a.m. on Oct. 21.
The Board of Education consists of seven members, elected from the six districts with one at-large member, serving four-year terms.
According to Board of Education policy, a member’s duties include providing every student an opportunity to receive a sound basic education, providing leadership and direction through the formulation of goals and objectives in defining and setting high academic standards for student success and creating policies to establish standards, accountability and evaluation of essential operations of the school district.
Board members also take steps necessary to help ensure legal compliance of board and school board functions and perform judicial functions by conducting hearings as appropriate or required by law regarding decisions of school system personnel.
The board is also tasked with hiring and working with superintendent.
The board also has oversight of the school budget and receives a recommended budget from the superintendent prior to voting to recommend the budget to the county commissioners. As part of the process, the board evaluates if the county appropriation is sufficient to support the public school system.
Board members are also advocates for the school system, staff and students in all interactions with other government entities and the public.