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Poland fills school board vacancy

 Poland Board of Education member Michael Chauvin


Nov. 23, 2020


POLAND – The Poland Central School District Board of Education recently appointed former board member Michael Chauvin to the board to fill a vacancy.

Board President Robert Batson said Chauvin’s background in finance and management gives him great experience for Poland’s current situation with Capital Project 2020 winding down and the general school budget climate related to unbudgeted COVID-19 equipment, New York State Education Department requirements and staffing.

“Mike did not hesitate when asked to serve the Poland community again and has already had a positive impact in board discussions,” Batson said.

The vacancy was created when board member Faith Murphy resigned effective Aug. 20, 2020, because her primary residence changed to Remsen Central School District. Following a review of options, board members appointed Chauvin on Oct. 8, and his first meeting back on the board was Oct. 15.

Chauvin’s seat will be up for election in the next school budget vote/Board of Education election, scheduled to take place in May 2021.

To fill the vacancy created by Murphy leaving, board members had three options: hold a special election, appoint someone to the seat or leave the seat vacant.

A special election was quickly ruled out, particularly considering the uniqueness of the current school year.

“No one on the board wanted to go the route of a special election,” Batson said. “Poland’s staff had just gone through June’s elections, and we did not want to put resources or extra money toward that endeavor.”

After several discussion about leaving the seat vacant or filling it with an appointee, board members decided it would be better to fill the seat, Batson said.

Board members asked Board Clerk Donna Willington to research how past board vacancies were filled, and that information was shared during a Sept. 17 board meeting.

“The PCS board had made a few appointments to fill vacant seats through the years,” Batson said. “These appointments have been previous board members or people that have recently petitioned for an open board seat.”

The seat left vacant by Murphy’s departure didn’t have any recent district residents who had petitioned to run for office, so the board asked Wellington to compile a list of previous board members, Batson said. Board members reviewed the information and came up with a list of former board members that they authorized Batson to reach out to and inquire about their willingness to accept an appointment to the board.

There are multiple advantages to appointing a former board member to fill a vacancy, Batson said.

“Previous school board members are already aware of the time commitment and have had state required training workshops required to be immediately effective contributors,” Batson said.