The Sarasota County School Board is pushing to leave open the vacancy left by former board member Carol Todd until the Aug. 26 primary election.
Board members discussed Todd’s replacement at a Tuesday work session, ultimately agreeing to advocate leaving the vacancy unfilled until August. Gov. Rick Scott has the authority to appoint Todd’s replacement, but Sarasota School Board members cautioned the appointment of a candidate intending to run Aug. 26 would give him or her an unfair advantage in the election.
“We’ve taken the position that we’d like to not have one,” School Board member Shirley Brown said, referring to the possibility of a temporary replacement for Todd.
The board also said the time required to prepare a district staff member to temporarily hold the post diminished the utility of such a move.
Board member Frank Kovach supported the board’s ultimate position, but doubted the advantage an earlier appointment would give to a prospective candidate in August.
“If you appoint somebody two months from now, I don't think it really matters,” Kovach said.
Board members are pushing for Todd’s replacement to be chosen in a countywide vote during the Aug. 26 primaries, after which Scott could appoint the winner of the election to step into the post immediately, sidestepping the usual lag between the election and the assumption of board member duties.
“If you appoint somebody who is running, it would matter,” School Board member Jane Goodwin said. “I personally would like to see the people decide.”
Board members were doubtful about nominating a member of district staff to hold the post until August, citing the training required prior to assuming board member responsibilities, which would likely occupy the majority of a prospective replacements tenure from April to August.
While the School Board has stated what it would like to see happen, Brown acknowledged that the decision was ultimately in Scott’s hands.
Todd, who had served on the board for 16 years, unexpectedly resigned April 2, citing obligations to her family.
Brown called Todd’s resignation “a surprise.”
"I miss Carol,” Goodwin said Tuesday. “I have heard from her, and she's going to have a wonderful new life.”
Contact Nolan Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org
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