ELIZABETHTOWN — Scarcely a month after the public referendum that OK'd the merger of Elizabethtown-Lewis and Westport central school districts, voters will go to the polls again — to elect representatives to a new school board.
According to information available Tuesday, petitions to run for seats on the Elizabethtown-Lewis-Westport Central School Board will be available Tuesday, Dec. 11, with a submission deadline of Monday, Dec. 31.
The vote will likely be Tuesday, Jan. 15, ELCS Superintendent Scott Osborne said.
"Those dates may be subject to change," he noted, saying the office of Champlain Valley Educational Services District Superintendent Mark Davey will be organizing the details.
Elizabethtown-Lewis-Westport Central School is the temporary name bestowed by the state, Osborne added — he expects the new board may appoint an advisory committee to look into the final decision on that.
'A GREAT SIGN'
Even before Tuesday's referendum, Osborne was fielding some informal expressions of interest from community members about the board seats.
"I think that's a great sign," he said.
Along with the consolidation proposition, voters decided the board will consist of seven members rather than five or nine.
Results on proposition dictating the terms of office were not available by press time — it will be three, four or five years.
Regardless, the terms will be staggered, Osborne said.
Statewide, he noted, about 55 percent of school boards are made up of seven members, while about 75 percent or so have three-year terms.
WANTS THE JOB
Davey will serve as acting superintendent until a new top administrator is hired by the new board.
Whether that body will conduct a search or hire in-house will be up to its members, Osborne said.
He does want the job, he noted.
"I'm very interested in continuing to lead here and working with the kids," Osborne said of ELCS, where he was K-through-12 principal for three years and has been superintendent for seven. "I love it here."
He also feels connected to WCS, with which his own district has shared services and sports teams for some time.
And he served as shared superintendent for both for a year during an experiment WCS had proposed.
Osborne stepped down from the Westport job ahead of the end of that trial in part because of family considerations but also so each district could concentrate on the consolidation proposal on its own.
"I wanted the merger study to stand on its own merits," he said.
Serving as superintendent of a merged district would be very different from the job he held overseeing two, Osborne noted.
"It was two of everything," he said of the earlier experiment — "two boards of education with two different styles, two different systems (of administration) ..."
OSBORNE'S THE GUY
Meyer's contract gives him a principal's position in the new district once it gets rolling (he was K-through-12 principal before taking the interim superintendent job).
Would he consider applying for the superintendent's post?
"I think, all along, Scott Osborne has been the guy," he said.
And if Osborne does get the job, he said, "I will be the first person lined up behind him giving my support."
Should Osborne choose not to apply "or if the board goes in a different direction," Meyer said, "I'd sit down and talk with the board."
As for Osborne, "I am certainly going to be respectful of whatever the new school board wants to do."
CLOSING THE BOOKS
Meyer believes the new super's first day will be July 1, when the new board's first budget goes into effect.
There's no money before that, he noted.
In the meantime, he said, he will remain at the WCS helm.
"There are countless decisions to be made between now and July 1," he said.
Meyer said there would be a meeting with teaching staff as soon as possible.
And at ELCS, Osborne said, "I'll still be responsible for making decisions (until July 1).
"We'll have a lot of work to do to close the books on ELCS.