LAKE PLACID - After swearing in the two people who won May school board elections, board members decided to offer a newly opening spot on the board to the person the two candidates beat.
On Tuesday June 4, new board member Rick Preston and incumbent John Hopkinson were sworn in. Preston was the top vote-getter with 333 votes and Hopkinson received 295.
Jennifer Tufano came in just below that with 282 votes. So she didn't win a seat, but Martha Stahl announced Tuesday's board meeting that she will step down from the board because she is moving, so the board decided to offer the position to Tufano.
Board member Herb Stoerr said when he was the runner up in his bid for school board three years ago and a seat opened up later, he and other candidates had to go through an interview process. He didn't make it through that process and ran a successful bid for a board seat the following year. He said a similar situation happened in the following years.
Stoerr suggested that since the district has conducted interviews to appoint school board candidates twice in the last few years, it should be consistent and do so again this year. He said that if the board deviates from that precedent, it could show favoritism.
"Maybe then it looks if we like the candidate that didn't make it then we appoint them the moment we have an opening; if we don't like him, then we're going to go through the interview process," Stoerr said.
But other school board members said that's not the way it's always been done. District Clerk Karen Angelopoulos said the district just started doing the interview process in the last few years with former district Superintendent Randy Richards, and before that the board has appointed school board members in other ways.
School board President Mary Dietrich said the New York State School Board Association wasn't a fan of the interview process, because it wasn't open to the public.
Several board members noted that Tufano showed an interest in the position by running for it, and the community supported her with only a few votes shy of enough to win. School board member John Hopkinson said that with that kind of support, he would feel uncomfortable with appointing anyone other than Tufano.
Tufano is a member of the elementary school's FRIENDS group and has two daughters in the district.
If Tufano is interested, the appointment will only be for one year, the remaining time left on Stahl's term.
Stahl said her time on the board has been a wonderful, challenging experience.
"It's actually a lot of fun," she said.
Contact Jessica Collier at 891-2600 ext. 26 or firstname.lastname@example.org.