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Oysterponds school board discusses downsizing

Oysterponds Board of Education

Should Oysterponds have a five or seven-member Board of Education?

The board’s current members discussed downsizing from seven to five at Tuesday’s meeting, saying community interest in running for school boards has dwindled around the region. 

The majority of members present Tuesday agreed they would feel comfortable keeping the board at seven members, though they see some positives with shrinking.

“It might be better to find five very dedicated board members,” said board member Thomas Stevenson. “There are a lot of people participating. I think the chances of getting people that maybe aren’t running for the right reasons [could increase].”

Another concern was that with a larger board there might not be enough interest in the community to fill the positions when the time comes.

“In the past few years, and you can look at trends in other boards, they have incumbents running unopposed or they have no one to fill the slot,” said board president Dorothy-Dean Thomas. “So that argument has some validity to me.”

Board member Krista de Kerillis said a lack of interest in board positions hasn’t been an issue in their district, and added that incumbents keeping positions allows for stability on the board.

After outlining the pros and cons of both options, the board mostly appeared in favor of remaining at seven members.

“I think the biggest pro for me with having seven people is that we all have very different interests and backgrounds and a common goal of why we’re here, but we all have experienced different things that we’re interested in and those skills make what we’re doing very effective,” Ms. Thomas said.

Although all members present — Linda Goldsmith and Jeffrey Demarest were absent — didn’t appear to have a strong desire to become a five-person board, no official decision will be made until next month’s board meeting, when each member will have a chance to join the discussion. A decision to drop to a five-member board would need to be approved through public referendum.

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Caption:Board of Education members Phil Mastrangelo and Tom Stevenson, and district clerk Marion Hughes, look over the agenda during discussion at Tuesday’s school board meeting.