School board announces application process to fill vacant seat

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The St. Joseph School District Board of Education on Monday accepted the resignation of a board member, and announced they will accept applications to fill the seat for the next two weeks.

As we reported earlier, Chris Danford resigned her position on board Feb. 16. The board formally accepted that resignation Monday.

Superintendent Dr. Robert Newhart says there has been some misinformation circulating on social media about how the board will fill the seat. Some residents are citing the wrong statute.

“We are following statute, we are following board policy,” Newhart said. “That precedent actually was set back in April of ’15 when you had to fill a previous position as well.”

The district’s legal counsel Joe Hatley pointed out that the law requires the board to fill the seat.  “There is one statute in Missouri that does call for a special election whenever there is a board vacancy, but that only applies to the Kansas City School District,” Hatley said.

But he says St. Joseph, and most of the rest of the state, are governed by a different statute. “That statute requires that vacancies be filled by appointment, by the board, as soon as practicable,” he said. “The statute doesn’t specify the process. It leaves each individual school district to develop its own process and impelent that.”

“You all have done that through board policy BBE. That’s what you’re getting ready to embark upon.”

Newhart announced a two-week window during which those interested in serving on the board can apply for the vacant seat. You must deliver a hard copy to the Board Secretary at 925 Felix in downtown St. Joseph by March 13.

“What this will entail is a hard copy letter of intent, stating qualifications, stating reasons for wanting the position, with three letters of reference, by March 13th at 4:30 p.m. in hard copy form,” Newhart said.