‘Tis the season for board transition! But what happens if your board returns from the holidays in January at less than full capacity? A vacancy may occur on the board for many reasons, but vacancies typically occur in January as a result of one of two things. Either a board member has resigned from the board during the middle of his/her term with an effective date of December 31 or the board had more open seats than interested candidates at the most recent election. In either case, a vacancy will occur on the board as of January 1 and the vacancy should be filled using the same procedures used to fill a mid-term vacancy. Those procedures are outlined in RC 3313.11 and summarized by OSBA in a fact sheet, which can be found online here.
Perhaps the most critical thing boards need to know about January board vacancies is the timeline for appointing individuals to fill the vacancy. A board must act to fill a vacancy at its next regular or special meeting after the vacancy occurs. However, the board may not fill the vacancy until 10 days after the vacancy occurs. This means that in the case of a vacancy that occurs on January 1, the board may not act to fill the vacancy until January 11. A school board that holds its organizational meeting between January 11 and 15 will have to fill the vacancy at that meeting. If the board elects to hold its organizational meeting prior to January 11, the vacancy cannot be filled at that meeting, and a special meeting will need to be called within 30 days after the vacancy occurs. After the 30 days, the new board member will be selected by the county probate court.
Remember that an ESC board has until January 30 to hold its organizational meeting.
If you have any questions, please contact OSBA's Legal Division.