Behind closed doors, Community High School District 218 staff and trustees interviewed two candidates Thursday to fill the board seat vacated by Ron Pratl, but failed to come to a consensus, superintendent John Byrne said.
Interviewing for the seat were Linda Vahl, who ran unsuccessfully against Pratl in the recent election, and Pratl’s brother, Donald.
“Both are very qualified,” Byrne said. “I’m impressed by both. They both seem very interested in District 218 and in the betterment of the schools.”
Board president Randy Heuser said board members have a few more questions they'd like to ask of both candidates before they make a decision and is “cautiously optimistic” that they’ll reach one at Monday’s regular meeting. He wouldn't comment on the types of questions that were asked or will be asked, but noted that "there's no controversy."
Pratl resigned from his seat last month by letter, citing personal and medical reasons, Heuser said.
There’s nothing in state law forbidding school boards from conducting candidate interviews in front of the public. District 218 holds their interviews in closed session.
“That’s the only way that I know of how it’s been done,” Byrne said. “It’s just past practice…it’s a job interview in a way. It seems a little personal between the employer and employee.”
But board members don’t work for the school district. They work for the public. When asked about it Byrne said, “I can’t necessarily disagree with that,” and noted that he would take the issue up with board members.