UL board member resigning

MORRISTOWN — The Union Local School District has a vacant school board seat to fill after an announcement from member Billy Porter that he would be resigning as of today.

The Union Local Board of Education held a special meeting at 8 a.m. Tuesday to review its financial forecast for the next five years. During that meeting, Billy Porter informed the board of his intention to step down, according to Superintendent Ben Porter, who is the board member’s brother.

“It was unexpected,” Ben Porter said. “He just said for personal reasons.”

Billy Porter had been named to the board last July to fill a vacant seat when member Dean Lancaster stepped down in late June after finding employment outside the state. Billy Porter had been a past board member and had resigned in January 2018 so that the school board could appoint Ed Stenger to fill the seat. Stenger had been unable to run during the election because of a technical error in presenting his petition form to the Belmont County Board of Elections office.

“He did not seek re-election when the last seats were up, but he filled the vacancy. Now he’s resigned from that,” Ben Porter said, adding that the district values Billy Porter’s contributions. “He worked hard at it and put in the time. He had his ideas on things and spoke those freely. Overall, he seemed to be a pretty good board member.”

Ben Porter added that the school board will begin the process of filling the vacant seat soon.

“The board will have to wait 10 days, and at that point the board will interview interested candidates,” the superintendent said.

According to the board of elections, Porter’s term will expire Dec. 31, and whoever is named to the seat must run in the Nov. 5 general election in order to potentially retain the seat. Board member Terry Puperi’s term also will expire at the end of the year. Board members’ terms are four years.

In other matters, the board approved the district’s five-year financial forecast as presented by Treasurer Janet Hissrich. Hissrich could not be reached for details of the plan, but Ben Porter said the first two years show the district in the black.

“In terms of the forecast, everything at this point’s looking good. Obviously it’s always subject to change, but at this point in time things are in pretty good shape,” he said. “We have to be cautious on our spending. I’ve talked about that and (Hissrich) has emphasized that over the last couple of years.”

Among possible future expenditures are upgrades to buildings and equipment, which the superintendent said are included in the facilities plan the district is preparing.

“The facilities, the age of our buildings and the equipment — things are just getting to or exceeding their lifespan expectations,” he said, adding that ongoing professional development is another expense.

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