© 2023 Lakeshore Public Media
8625 Indiana Place
Merrillville, IN 46410
Public Broadcasting for Northwest Indiana & Chicagoland
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Valparaiso residents have until Dec. 5 to apply for soon-to-be-vacant school board seat

Valparaiso Community Schools

Last week's Valparaiso mayoral election will leave a vacancy on the Valparaiso Community School Board, and some community members already have ideas of who should fill it. Jon Costas will have to give up his school board seat when he returns to the mayor's office in January.

Valpo School Board members are typically appointed by the city council or the Center Township Board. But when a school board seat becomes vacant in the middle of the term, Indiana law leaves it up to the remaining school board members to choose a replacement.

Applications for the position will be available on the school corporation's website, starting Wednesday. The deadline for completed applications is December 5 at noon.

School Board President Kurt Minko says the board will publicly interview up to four candidates on December 12, before making a final selection. An executive session will be held before that to narrow down the list, if necessary.

"The process really follows what the city council did. This is really, basically, the same process," Minko said during a special school board meeting Tuesday.

But some residents had their own ideas for how the process should go.

Kevin Cornett said members should only consider candidates who've already applied in the last two years. "To do so outside, pick somebody that has not gone through the process, would be unfair to the people that put themselves forward and the city council and the trustee's office, that have vetting these people and really took a hard look at it," Cornett told board members.

Jessica Jepsen, meanwhile, encouraged board members to look at what gaps may be created by the departure of Costas. "You're losing an attorney that does have party affiliation, as well, and they were placed there for a reason. So some people that may be a good fit may need to be reached out to," Jepsen said.

Alison Quackenbush said she plans to reapply for a school board seat, after applying earlier this year. She touted her qualifications as a business person, former educator and a parent of Valparaiso Community Schools students.

"We need a parent present on that board, and I feel strongly," Quackenbush said.

Valparaiso School Board candidates must be at least 21 years old and live within the city limits.