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Published: Wednesday, 4/30/2014

Washington Local fills seat

School board taps Kiser to replace member who quit


The Washington Local Board of Education on Tuesday appointed a replacement for a school board member who abruptly resigned this month.

Eric Kiser, 33, was unanimously chosen to fill the vacancy left by Steve Zuber, who left April 14 after 17 years on the school board.

Mr. Kiser, a Monroe County corrections officer, has five children attending school in the district and previously was president of the Greenwood Elementary parent-teacher organization.

Board members interviewed 10 candidates for the vacancy during two sessions last week.

“Every one of the people was qualified for the position,” board member David Hunter said.

Members praised Mr. Kiser’s commitment and passion for the district and said his youth would be a positive for the district. Mr. Kiser will fill the seat until the November, 2015, general election, where he will have to run for re-election.

Mr. Zuber had been re-elected to his seat in November. He submitted his resignation to the board at a special meeting, when board members discussed union negotiations and “the investigation of charges or complaints against a public employee, official, licensee, or students.”

Both Mr. Zuber and school board President Thomas Ilstrup have declined to say what board members discussed in that closed session, but Mr. Ilstrup said Tuesday the board had not requested Mr. Zuber’s resignation.

In other business, the district has reached a tentative agreement to extend its teachers’ union contracts. The school board will likely vote May 21 on the pact.

The extension would add a year to a two-year contract the district and union approved last year, so that it now expires June, 2016. Teachers’ pay would increase 1.5 percent in the third year following a 3 percent increase this year and a freeze next year, while health-insurance premiums will rise by $15 for teachers with families and $10 for singles.

Christopher Hodnicki, a teacher at Whitmer High School and president of the union, said the union has a history of contract extensions with the district.

“We have a good strong collaborative working relationship with our administration and our board and want to keep the momentum going,” he said.

Contact Nolan Rosenkrans at: nrosenkrans@theblade.com or 419-724-6086, or on Twitter @NolanRosenkrans.

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