Update at 7:40 p.m.: In an unprecedented move, the Evanston Township High School Board failed Wednesday to agree on a replacement on the board for William Geiger, who resigned effective May 27, and passed the decision on to Regional Superintendent Bruce Brown.
For seven years, Brown was superintendent of the Mt. Prospect School District 57 before he took the regional superintendent’s job in 2009 as head of the North Cook Intermediate Service Center in Des Plaines.
The ETHS District 202 Board met in open session Wednesday at 6 p.m., upon the request of members Jonathan Baum, Douglas Holt, and Gretchen Livingston, who were in opposition to the appointment of Anne Sills, who came in fourth in the April school board election that filled three expiring terms on the seven-member board.
The board had deadlocked in a 3-3 tie on June 22. With the July 10 deadline fast approaching, it became apparent that the board may have to fall back on the handoff to the regional state official.
Board President Pat Savage-Williams, Vice President Mark Metz, and newly elected member Monique Parsons would not budge from their insistence that the post be filled by Sills.
Finally, Holt moved that they go into executive session to discuss the 14 candidates who had applied for the job, many of whom, the dissident trio said, had outstanding qualifications that ought to be considered.
“My view,” said Holt, “is that we have an incredible strong field of candidates.”
Livingston, the immediate past board president, said “I think it would be a terrible thing to turn it over to the regional superintendent.”
Baum said that “surely, we owe it to our community” to fill the vacancy.
The closed session did not last long. When the open session resumed at about 7:40 p.m., Savage-Williams announced that “we continue to be at an impasse.”
She continued: “We have not reached an agreement, so this will be submitted to the regional superintendent, which is by law the next step.”
Savage-Williams said she will be speaking for the board to the regional official. “It will not be anyone else on the board.”
She thanked the applicants for their interest in serving, and added, “I wish we had come to a conclusion, but we did not, so our next step is to submit to the regional superintendent.”
This will not be the first time that Brown has had to step into a local impasse, as he had to do it last February for the District 15 schools in Palatine under similar circumstances.
Under state law, Brown has 30 days to pick Geiger’s replacement.