Breaking with its usual practice on June 21 the Oak Park and River Forest High School District 200 Board of Education will interview in open session six of the 13 people who have applied to fill a vacancy on the school board. The vacancy occurred  when Kebreab Henry resigned from the school board because he is moving out of state.

Typically school boards interview applicants to fill a vacancy in closed session but when Henry resigned new school board member Tim Brandhorst suggested that at least part of interview process be done in open session so as to be public and transparent.

The names of the six apparent finalists have not yet been disclosed. Wednesday Journal filed a public records request on June 9 to obtain the names and resumes or letters of interest submitted by all 13 applicants but on June 16 the school requested an automatic five-day extension of the time it has to reply to the request. This means that OPRF will not have to release the names of the applicants until the six finalists appear in person and in public at the June 21 special meeting which will begin at 7 p.m.

During the open session the six finalists will be given 10 minutes each to reply to the same four questions which they were given in advance. The questions deal with the time commitment to the board and how likely it is that the applicant would run for a full four-year term if chosen to serve out the final two years of Henry’s term, how the applicant skill set fits the current board, the applicant’s view of equity and decision making.

“After the interviews, the board will invite finalists into closed session, where additional and/or follow-up questions will be asked prior to making a final decision,” said school board president Tom Cofsky according to the agenda packet posted on the OPRF website.   

The board is not expected to choose and vote on Henry’s replacement until July. It must appoint a successor by Aug. 1.

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