FARMINGTON — RSU 9 Superintendent Tom Ward will recommend Keith Welch to fill a vacancy on the school board until Farmington’s annual town meeting election in March 2014.

The next Board of Directors meeting is 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22, at the Forum at the Mt. Blue Campus in Farmington.

Welch will replace former Director Eric Gilbert, who bought a house in Jay, Ward told school board members Oct. 8.

Gilbert was elected in March to a three-year term.

Ward recommended Welch, a substitute in the district, at the board meeting Oct. 8. He plans to stop substituting in RSU 9 if he becomes a board member. The district policy prohibits board members and spouses from being employed in the RSU 9 system.

Board Vice Chairwoman Claire Andrews of Farmington questioned whether someone who has worked for the district in the past year could serve on the board.


Ward said he would get clarification and bring the recommendation to the next meeting.

“Our attorneys have verified that a substitute teacher can be a board member as long as they resign from subbing,” Ward said Friday.

The one-year waiting period is for board members who want to apply for a job in the district, he said.

The district’s policy on a board vacancy is that municipal officers select an interim director to serve until the next election.

Farmington Town Manager Richard Davis said in late September that the statute the town follows says the vacancy can be filled in one of two ways: school directors may appoint someone within 30 days or, if they do not do so, “by election at a town meeting called for the purpose.”

The vacancy came too late for the town to hold the election on Nov. 5. A referendum filing date requires it to be done about 45 days prior to an election to meet the state’s 30-day absentee voting requirement.

Welch’s “leadership background, developed over 30 years as a school principal and director of programs for the handicapped and disadvantaged, has taught him that progress is best made through consensus and the process of give and take, while still representing the historic ideals of his party,” according to a news release announcing his campaign for the state Legislature in 2012.

Welch was born in Farmington and graduated from Wilton Academy and completed his studies at the University of Maine at Farmington and in Orono, the release stated.

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