WCA looking to fill school board vacancy following resignation

West Central Area School Board Member Jared Olson has resigned his seat after it was found that he had inadvertently posted inappropriate content to his Snapchat account. 

His resignation was effective last Thursday.

The content was posted to his “stories” feature on his Snapchat account which allows public viewing. A WCA parent took a screen video of what Olson posted showing his name. The video was then distributed among a group of parents and district residents.

Superintendent Paul Brownlow confirmed that Olson has resigned.

“WCA Schools is aware of the posting of an inappropriate video by a member of the Board of Education. Mr. Jared Olson has submitted his resignation from the Board, effective immediately,” the district said in a Facebook post on its site.

Olson finished second in a six-way race for three seats on the school board in November 2022. He was in the first year of his four-year term. The WCA board was scheduled to meet Wednesday to discuss what action it will take to fill his seat.

Vacancies on a school board are filled by appointment with the person appointed staying in office until a special or regular election is conducted to fill the vacancy. The appointment requires passage of a resolution by the school board and is effective 30 days after it is passed. 

Because Olson’s resignation comes so close to the Nov. 7 general election, there is no time to conduct a special election this year. However, state laws says that “the special election must be held no later than the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of the following calendar year.” That would put the special election on Nov. 5, 2024, unless the school board approves an earlier date for the special election.

All elections to fill vacancies shall be for the unexpired term. 

When a person is elected to a school board in a special election, that person takes office immediately after receiving “the certificate of election, filing the bond, and taking the oath of office.”

Citizens of a school district can challenge an appointment to fill a seat. A petition signed by at least 5% of population of eligible voters in the school district who voted in the last state general election must be submitted to the school district clerk within 30 days of the passages of the resolution to appoint someone to be valid.

If the petition is judged to be valid, “the appointment by the school board is ineffective and the board must name a new appointee.”

The school board has several options in temporarily filling the vacancy. It can appoint someone it chooses; it can select the person who finished out of winning a seat in the last election, or it can ask for volunteers and choose among them.

In the November 2022 election, Sara Strunk and Michelle Nessman also won on the WCA Board of Education. Anthony Green finished in fourth place, Dal Rau fifth, and Persephone England sixth.