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Board sets tentative process for filling vacancy

Losing candidates in the Nov. 2 election could get a second shot at a Rochester School Board seat according to a process that's still under discussion to replace Cris Fischer, who resigned last month.

The board is expected to take a final vote on the replacement process on Oct. 19. The filing period for people interested in the vacancy would open at 8 a.m. Oct. 20. It wouldn't close until 4 p.m. Nov. 3, which would give unsuccessful general election candidates time to file.

The board discussed details of the plan Tuesday night. The tentative process includes having all current board members and the four new members elected Nov. 2, if they choose, sit on a committee that would narrow the field of applicants.

The applications could be identified by number, rather than by name, to level the playing field.

"I think what we’re all looking for is someone that’s clear-thinking, and policy-driven, and understands the role of the board," said board member Breanna Bly.


The current board will appoint the new board member, who will serve until Fischer’s term expires at the end of 2012. The date of the appointment had been set for Nov. 23 but could be re-scheduled because board member Diane M.H. Blakley said she can't attend that meeting.

Other details of the tentative replacement plan include reviewing and screening candidates the week of Nov. 8 and public interviews of finalists the week of Nov. 15.

The board formally accepted Fischer’s resignation Tuesday night and officially declared the vacancy.

Fischer resigned Sept. 10 after nearly 10 years on the board, saying she could no longer support district leadership. Chairman Jim Pittenger said Tuesday that Fischer will be given a plaque commemorating her service, which he said is the standard procedure.

The school board still needs to determine what questions will be asked of the applicants and the criteria for screening applicants and selecting a replacement, Pittenger said.

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