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With one day left, only one taker for seventh school board spot

Attention potential Austin school board members: the window of opportunity to serve on the board without the expense of running for office will close on Friday.

The district is taking applications for the board's seventh spot, which its Personnel Committee will consider early next week, but time is running out, since the deadline for applications is Friday afternoon.

So far, there's been only one taker. Superintendent David Krenz said the lone applicant's name would be released Friday after the deadline. He said the process isn't like an election, where a candidate's name goes on the ballot after they file.

Krenz said a couple other people have picked up applications at the district's office but haven't returned them yet. He wouldn't specifically discuss how many others expressed interest in the position, except to say that "one or two" others have asked about it.

"In my experience, I've had to deal with board resignations and moving. It's usually minimal," he said. "But then again, Austin's a larger district."


School districts are legally required to fill vacancies on their school boards until the next election cycle. Curt Rude's term ends in December 2011.

The process opened June 15 — a day after the Austin public school board voted to fill its seventh seat, opened in March by the removal of Rude, who was suing the school district, alleging it was indirectly responsible for defamation and emotional distress, at the time. A Mower County judge dismissed the lawsuit on June 7.

The committee will review applications at a special meeting on Monday. It will also decide how it will proceed, since the school board anticipated having four candidates when it decided to move ahead with the process on June 14. The number of applications will determine what happens next, Krenz said.

"One of the things, like in business and government, is if there isn't really a crisis, even if people are interested, there isn't a visual interest. It's just 'OK, they're taking care of it'. Now, if we had tried to fight that, it would've been more vocal," said Krenz.

He said district officials want the process to be as open and as public a process. He said the law prevents a special election and an appointment isn't necessary because the term doesn't expire for a year and six months.

"In our case, we have more time and we want to make sure the public has an opportunity," Krenz said.

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