Voters OK fix for problematic PW-S School Board vacancy

Proposal to create at-large seat receives overwhelming support at polls Tuesday
Ozaukee Press staff

Voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved changing the way one Port Washington-Saukville School Board member is elected to remedy the problem of a long-vacant board seat.    

A referendum question on the April 3 ballot that asked if a board seat that represents a small area of the district should be changed to an at-large position that can be filled by a person living anywhere in the district was approved by a 78% margin — 2,906 to 821 votes.

The board will remain at nine members, and the new seat will replace one that currently represents a small section of the towns of Saukville and Grafton. That seat has been vacant since October 2015, and with only about 350 registered voters living in the area, a candidate to run for the position, or even a person willing to apply for a board appointment, has been elusive.

Board bylaws called for the board to consist of five members from the City of Port Washington, two from the Village of Saukville and one each from the Town of Port Washington and the towns of Saukville and Grafton. The proposed change affects only the Saukville-Grafton town seat.

Although board members represent specific areas of the district, all voters may vote for all candidates. For example, a Village of Saukville resident may vote for a City of Port Washington School Board candidate.

The first opportunity for candidates to run for the at-large seat will be next year.

The approval of the at-large seat represents the culmination of two years of work for School Board members, who needed to collect 500 signatures from district residents in order to have the question placed on the ballot. The board came up short in its first attempt, not because the change was controversial but because the issue took longer than expected to explain to residents, but cleared the 500 signature mark this year.

A vacant Saukville-Grafton town seat was not always a problem. For 16 years it was occupied by Jim Eden, who served as board president for two of those years before resigning in March 2014.

The board appointed Paul Krechel in July 2014. Krechel ran unopposed in the April 2015 election but resigned in October of that year.

Despite the district’s efforts to find an appointee to fill the seat, as well as an April 2016 election that failed to attract a registered or even a write-in candidate, the seat has remained vacant since Krechel’s departure.


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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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Port Washington, WI 53074
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