GREENFIELD — Kent Fisk’s victory in the Hancock County Council race Tuesday leaves the Greenfield-Central School Board with a decision to make.
Fisk, who currently holds the District 2 seat and serves as assistant secretary on the school board, will vacate that position Jan. 1 to join the council. His final board meeting is Dec. 10.
As a result, the board must appoint someone to fulfill the remainder of Fisk’s term, which ends Dec. 31, 2014.
That could mean a second chance for a candidate defeated in one of the two G-C school board races Tuesday.
Kathy Dowling and Ray Kerkhof are already set to join the board in January, replacing Dan Riley and Michael Summers, both of whom did not run for re-election.
Dowling, a retired educator and Greenfield native, defeated local attorney David Murphy by a wide margin to represent District 4. Kerkhof, on the other hand, bested Scott Brown for the at-large seat by just 39 votes. A third candidate for the at-large seat, Jason Shaw, placed a distant third.
According to the Hancock County Election Office, Indiana election code permits the current school board to fill Fisk’s seat with anyone from within the school corporation’s boundaries, including any of the candidates who fell short in Tuesday’s elections.
Though Fisk represented District 2, election law does not require his replacement to live there, said county election administrator Robin Spille.
Because the school board is non-partisan, the replacement would be put to a vote by the current board, not a local party caucus, regardless of Fisk’s political affiliation, she said.
Board President Retta Livengood said the board has not engaged in an in-depth discussion about who might replace Fisk or the process for doing so, Livengood said.
Livengood said she plans to discuss the procedure with the corporation’s attorney before the next regular board meeting on Monday.
“My assumption is that we will fill the position in the calendar year of 2012, so that person is ready to take office with the two newly elected school board members,” Board President Retta Livengood said.
Livengood supports appointing someone who has already invested time and energy in learning about the school board and its function.
“These are people who have made an effort to become informed and learn about what’s entailed with the job as opposed to just throwing their hat in the ring,” she said.
Brown, who received 3,244 votes Tuesday, said he’s known since Fisk won in the May primary election that his school board seat would have to be filled if he won in November.
Brown said he would consider the position if asked, though he is still reeling from the results of Tuesday’s tight race.
“I’m still smarting over yesterday a little bit,” he said Wednesday. “It was so close. I threw my name out there to serve the community and the students of Greenfield-Central, and I’ll consider whatever opportunities … that come my way.”
Brown lives in District 4, so if he assumed Fisk’s District 2 seat he could not run for re-election to retain the seat in two years.
Fisk seconded Livengood’s recommendation that the board choose someone with whom the community is already familiar.
Board members kept a close eye on the candidates to see how hard they would work through the campaign season, Fisk said.
“We were just waiting to see … who had their heart in it and who was interested and who would go that extra mile to be a part of it,” Fisk said. “We owe it to the corporation to get somebody that will try their best and commit to it and everything. If you go through an election, believe me, … you’re motivated.”