Haldane board weighs options to fill vacant seat
By Michael Turton
The Haldane Board of Education will likely be looking for a new trustee very soon. At the board’s Dec. 20 meeting, veteran trustee and former president Dave Merandy announced that he is stepping down. Merandy was elected to the Philipstown Town Board last fall and begins his first term in that capacity in January.
Board president Joe Curto told Philipstown.info that the board has several options, but that he has a preferred solution. “I’m awaiting a formal legal opinion, but I believe our options are to leave the seat vacant, hold a special election for the remainder of his term or interview and appoint [a trustee],” Curto said. The next school board election is in May. Curto will not be seeking re-election and Trustee Evan Schwartz will face reelection. “Personally, I’d like to appoint a person,” Curto said. “Having three seats up at once in our local political climate is not wise.”
“We’ve worked very hard creating a balanced board that represents our community well,” Curto continued. “I’d hate to see all that disappear with a three-vote majority slate running.”
Superintendent Mark Villanti said he feels the board will likely accept self-nominations from residents, followed by interviews with the board, which would then appoint someone as trustee. Curto said he thinks applicants for trustee, “…should respect balance, not be a one-issue type and have some experience working with the school.” He said that new trustees face a “huge learning curve” and that, “knowing a little about how it works can help immensely.”
The board’s next meeting is Tuesday, Jan. 3. Curto said that trustees will discuss the situation at length, including in public session.
Photos by M.Turton