The Evanston Township High School District 202 Board Monday night failed for a second time–by the same 3-to-3 vote–to pick a successor to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation last month of William Geiger.
The move came after the board had met with each of the 14 persons who had applied for the position and leaves the board with less than three weeks to make a decision, or it will be made for them by the Regional Superintendent of Schools, according to Board President Pat Savage-Williams.
Regional offices are subsections of the Illinois State Board of Education and are designed to provide support services for local districts. The Evanston schools are served by the Northern Cook County office, located in Des Plaines.
Two weeks ago, Board member Mark Metz proposed that the board suspend its written policy on filling board vacancies and select Anne Sills, who came in a close fourth in the five-way race in April to fill three of the seven positions on the board.
His motion failed by a 3-3 tie, as two of the dissenters, Doug Holt and Gretchen Livingston, said they felt the board should stand by its policy and interview the 14 persons who had applied for the position. Jonathan Baum cast the third vote that defeated the motion.
Monday night, Metz moved that the board appoint Anne Sills to the position. She had arrived in the meeting room at the same time as the board members, leaving the few people in the audience to suspect that Sills was the chosen candidate.
During the public comment section of the meeting, three persons—Bennett Johnson, Betty Sue Ester, and Missy Fleming—spoke glowingly of Sills’ qualifications, and it appeared that the board members had agreed upon Sills in their three-hour closed session that preceded the public meeting.
When the roll-call vote was taken, Monique Parsons, Metz, and Savage-Williams voted yes, while Holt, Livingston, and Baum voted no. The entire meeting lasted less than 30 minutes.
In the audience Monday night was one of the 14 candidates, Andrew Bezaitis, who ran unsuccessfully for the board in the 2013 election.
Following the meeting, Savage-Williams told Evanston Now that she hopes the board can agree on a candidate by July 10, but that she did not plan to seek additional applicants.