Patchak-Layman irks some with abstention

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Sharon Patchak-Layman's vote to "abstain" on the selection of the district's new superintendent because the search "left a gap in [her knowledge]" confused and saddened some of her fellow board members.

Dan Burke said he was "saddened and disappointed" by the vote.

"I think as elected officials we owe it to those we represent to take positions on the critical issues," Burke said. "I can think of no vote as critical as our hiring a new superintendent."

He added that he felt an abstention vote was not appropriate on a vote the board had so much information on.

Bob Walsh said in a voicemail message: "I am baffled how any member of the board of education could not fulfill their duty to have an opinion on probably the most important matter before us as a board that we will ever have to decide upon."

Board Vice President Carolyn Newberry Schwartz said she was very proud about the work the board did in hiring a new superintendent, and that Patchak-Layman's vote would not detract from it.

"I feel just terrific about [new Supt.] Connie Collins. I hope I get a chance to work [with her]," said Newberry Schwartz, who is up for re-election in April.

Collins said she had hoped to get a "yes" vote from all of the board members, but that an abstention was better than a "no" vote. She thought the board conducted a "very thorough process," and said the vote would not affect her ability to work with Patchak-Layman.

"I am a very positive person, very optimistic, and I go into any job to work hard and do the best job I can," Collins said.
?#34;Drew Carter

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