The process to fill an open position on the USD 409 Board of Education officially started Friday afternoon after board members decided on how they wanted to do it.

The position opened up June 1 when Dr. Pam Rizza resigned for professional reasons during the regular monthly meeting. Rizza was sworn to the post in January after she was elected to serve a 4-year term in November of 2019 along with fellow board members Sally Berger and Stefanie Gardner.

Interested persons residing within the USD 409 boundaries and willing to serve on the board may submit a letter of interest along with their application. Letters are to include board membership skills, qualifications, and other community engagement board involvement. Applications need to be received by noon Monday, July 13 at the board office.

Board members tentatively plan to interview applicants during a special meeting the same day as they expect a presentation of their 2020-2021 budget. The meeting is set for noon Friday, Aug. 7at the board office. Board members will interview the applicants in open session and then appoint one to serve on the school board.

Board members reached their consensus on the procedure after some discussion and insight from Dr. Brian Jordan, of the Kansas Association of School Boards.

Jordan told the board members there is no required timeline for them to fill the position. However, if they do decide to appoint someone to fulfill the Rizza’s position, the appointed applicant will be subject to run for the seat in the next school board elections year of 2021.

This means for 2021 there will be five USD 409 Board seats up for grabs on the ballot instead of four open positions like in the regular cycle.

Board Member Sean Crittendon was the last appointment to the 409 Board. Board members reviewed the procedure at that time that included an interview process with persons who applied for consideration, and then board members took action on the actual appointment. Crittendon recalled he was elected during the following school board election cycle.

Vice-president Diane Liebsch said she had been approached by district patrons in her age group who have suggested board members make their appointment from the field of candidates in the 2019 election.

Board Member Dr. John Eplee said any of the former candidates could apply if board members decide to follow the same procedure as before. The board members agreed.

Interested parties are to submit letters and applications to Atchison Public Schools, 626 Commercial Street, Atchison, Kansas 66002.

In other matters, board members:

Unanimously approved the 2020-21 handbooks, contingent on possible updates and recommendations from KASB due to the pandemic.

Approved an agreement with Jock’s Nitch.

Heard a budget update from Business Manager Lori Lanter.

Reviewed a self-evaluation report with Jordan.

Unanimously approved personnel action as presented.

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