3 candidates for board vacancy

Next Tuesday, the Williamsport Area School Board will interview three applicants, one of whom will be chosen to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of director Jerene Milliken last month.

The board decided Tuesday to interview Anthony Bennett, of 700 College Place; Charles Black, of 324 Park Ave.; and Thomas Probst, of 1054 Wayne Ave. School board President Lori Baer said she did not have the ages of the applicants.

All of the candidates are qualified for the position, said board member Dr. Nancy Story Somers.

“There is one I have a question about and, if the board agrees, I can look into it. There’s one person that’s given a Lycoming College address,” said solicitor Fred Holland speaking about Bennett. “I think it would be wise if I contact that individual and find out that he does in fact qualify for the residency.”

Since the meeting, Holland has verified that Bennett’s address is the college campus, and he is looking into the qualifications for residency within the school code to make sure he is still a viable candidate by the meeting next Tuesday.

School board members must live within the boundaries of the city school district.

The board asked the solicitor to verify all the addresses before the interviews, which will be conducted during the board meeting at 6 p.m. April 17 at the District Service Center, 2780 W. Fourth St. The interviews are open to the public.

No more applicants will be accepted.

“The vacancy was advertised, and the advertisement has run its course. The position is now closed,” Superintendent Dr. Timothy Bowers said.

During the interviews, “Every candidate will be asked the same questions,” Holland said. “We always ask the candidates as they’re being interviewed if they’d be kind enough to vacate the room while the others are being interviewed so that they don’t hear the candidates in advance. We cannot require anybody to leave the room because it is a public meeting, and the candidates are members of the public and are entitled to attend.”

In the past, Holland said, other applicants all complied.

“Then you deliberate publicly about who you want to choose,” he said. “To avoid embarrassment, often times what we’ve done is ask people (school board members) to submit a ballot with their choice with their name also on it for public record.”

He said the written ballot will be public record.

The board has 30 days from March 21 to fill the vacancy. If it does not, district residents may petition the court to appoint someone.

The appointee will serve on the board until December 2019, which is when Milliken’s term would have expired.

Voting yes were members Patrick Dixon, Lori Baer, Jennifer Lake, Adam Welteroth, Story Somers, Spencer Sweeting and Marc Schefsky. Dr. Jane Penman came to the meeting late and did not vote.