Columbus City Schools Fills Board Vacancy With Interim Appointment
Delivering an outcome that was reported as a possibility yesterday, Columbus City Schools announced last night after its regularly scheduled business meeting that an interim appointment had been made to fill its vacant Board of Education seat.
Bryan O. Steward, who served as an elected BOE member from 2011 to 2015 and is also a former Columbus School Board Member and Vice President, was selected by a unanimous Board vote. He’ll serve in the post temporarily until the collective has an opportunity to “thoroughly evaluate the impressive list of candidates” that responded to CCS’ public call for interest. The seat was vacated by Dominic Paretti, who resigned amid accusations of sexual harassment on September 21. Steward had previously accepted a similar appointment to fill an unexpired BOE term in 2009.
“We are fortunate that Mr. Steward has stepped up once again in service to this District, our students and families, and our community,” CCS Board President Gary L. Baker II said in last night’s press release. “He recognizes the importance of this role and has committed to fill the seat for the short term, allowing us to take the proper time we need to find the best candidate to serve on our Board of Education.”
Steward’s term of service is expected to extend until the end of November, at the latest, and he will not seek a permanent appointment to the Board, even though he was one of the 55 candidates who had submitted interest to the division.
CCS’ quick decision to pause their Board candidate search and make an immediate move to remedy their vacancy came with some legal pressure. Ohio Revised Code (ORC 3313.11) requires that elected school boards fill empty seats at their next public meeting no sooner than 10 days following a vacancy or resignation.
“The deadlines set by the Ohio Revised Code to fill vacancies on boards of education are simply too restrictive for large districts such as ours, where we have a large community filled with committed individuals ready to serve,” Baker stated in the release. “The stakeholders of our District deserve to have a process that provides the greatest opportunity to find the best candidate, and we want to take the time to review every person who has submitted their interest in joining our Board.”
A firm date by which CCS anticipates they will announce their choice has not been made public, although Baker is “hopeful he and his colleagues hope to identify a permanent candidate in the next several weeks.”
The next CCS Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, October 16. Unless otherwise noted, meetings are held at 5:30 p.m. at the Columbus Education Center, 270 E. State St., and are open to the public, according to their website.
For more information, visit ccsoh.us.