Board Vacancy Draws Interest

Board Vacancy Draws Interest
Posted on 02/08/2018
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Nearly 60 applicants

(courtesy cleveland.com)

Interest is so strong in the vacated Akron School Board seat that officials are opting to take more time than anticipated to select a replacement for John Otterman.

Otterman tendered his resignation Jan. 22, just days after Akron police found him passed out in his SUV in the North Hill neighborhood from a suspected fentanyl drug overdose.

With 57 applicants interested in the school board seat - two to three times more than expected -- the board wants more time to review the applications and decide how to proceed, said School Board President Patrick Bravo.

A likely reason interest is high for the open seat is because of the widely reported nature of Otterman's resignation, making more people aware the seat was open.

The board had planned to interview candidates this Saturday and name the new member at its Monday night meeting. Now, the board will meet Saturday at the Akron Public Schools administration building for a working session to determine next steps in the process , Bravo said.

"We're very excited at the interest this has generated in the community and the number of qualified individuals that are passionate about Akron Public Schools," he said. "We have a very difficult decision ahead of us but a very important one."

The board had originally planned to interview every applicant. That is unlikely now, although it's something the board will decide this weekend, he said.

Under the Ohio Revised code, the board has 30 days -- through Feb. 21 -- to choose a new board member, or it falls to Summit County Probate Court to select the replacement.

Bravo is confident the board will meet that deadline but wants the rest of the board to weigh in before committing to a timeline.

In addition to submitting a resume by the Feb. 1 deadline, applicants also were required to full out a basic online questionnaire that disclosed, among other things, whether they had run for the school board before and their levels of involvement and experience with Akron schools. Many of the 57 applicants are well qualified, he said.

"We're looking for someone who is passionate about helping us move Akron Public Schools forward, however that translates in a resume," Bravo said.

Bravo anticipates a process in which, after conducting interviews, the board holds a special meeting to announce the new board member ahead of the Feb. 21 deadline.
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