REED CITY — With time short and the need great, members of the Reed City Area Public Schools Board of Education will meet Monday, April 11, to interview candidates, discuss qualifications, choose a new board member, and swear that person in to their new job.

Board members found the school district’s policy making panel one person short upon the resignation of trustee Randy Park last month.

The deadline for filing as an applicant to fill out Park’s term of office was March 30.

Six community members sent in applications and will each be given time to express their ideas and opinions before the collective Board of Education and the public at the mid-April special session.

“I am very impressed that we had so much interest, and so many good candidates, despite the difficult times we are going through in public education,” said RCAPS superintendent Steven Westhoff.

“We have notified the applicants and look forward to meeting with them and hearing what they have to say.”

Filing as a candidate for the role of RCAPS Board trustee were Kimberly O’Neil, Patty Fasbender, Stan Swartz, Bill Terryn, Cathey Todd, and Rob Grimes.

Fasbender is, at present, an employee of the school district and as such would not be allowed to sit on the Board. She indicated in her letter of interest that she would resign as an employee if selected to sit at the Board table.

“We plan to give each applicant equal time in answering questions and expressing opinions,” said Westhoff.

During the interview process, the assembled candidates will sit together at a table There will not be separate or individual interviews. A set list of questions has been created for the process.

The moderator will ask the first question with each candidate answering in turn — from the first through the sixth. When the next question is asked, the second candidate in line will be given the opportunity to answer first — and so on.

Each candidate will be given an opportunity to be the first to answer a question so that no single candidate can be perceived as having some chronological advantage.

“The candidates will not have a preview of the questions until they arrive at the School Board office the evening of the interview,” explained Westhoff.

‘We don’t want there to be any perception of favoritism in any way.”

Because of time constraints, (a School Board member needs to be replaced within 30 days of their resignation), a decision to replace Park will be made the same night of the interview process.

“The Board will deliberate and select Mr. Park’s replacement that same night and that person will be informed of the decision and sworn in as a Board member at the earliest possible opportunity — maybe that same evening,” said Westhoff.

“They must be ‘on board’ by the Tuesday immediately following the process.”

Westhoff again expressed his satisfaction over the number of candidates and quality of the same.

“I really believe people in our community understand there are tough decision that are going to need to be made over the coming months and years,” he pointed out.

“We have people in the Reed City community who care about public education and want to be a part of the decison making process in order to better build up our school district.

“I think people understand that we in public education are in a position we have never been in before. We are facing some very tough times ahead.

“Now was the time we needed people to step up — and they did.

“I’m very thankful for that.”