The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, November 10, 2020 1:00 am

FWCS board member to resign

Smith won reelection despite vow to quit

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Tom Smith wasn't swayed by the 7,021 voters who supported him in last week's election.

He's stepping down from his Fort Wayne Community Schools board post despite his slim victory over Bill Critell – just as he said he would.

Smith announced his resignation, effective Jan. 1, during Monday's school board meeting.

“I would hope that by letting this be known that it will give the board enough time between now and January, if they should so choose, to begin a process of people applying to fill my position,” Smith said.

Smith, 77, has represented District 3 since 2017. He previously was a Republican Fort Wayne City Council member for 16 years.

Although he filed for reelection, Smith decided after the August filing deadline that a second term isn't best for him or District 3, citing a lack of energy. He vowed he would resign at the end of his current term regardless of the election results.

Smith earned about 51% of the votes.

Board President Julie Hollingsworth thanked Smith for the advanced notice.

She expects the board will follow an appointment process like those used when Mark GiaQuinta resigned from an at-large seat in 2017 and when Jordan Lebamoff of District 4 died in March. The process included publicly interviewing candidates.

“We've done this twice in the last three years,” Hollingsworth said after the meeting.

“We should be getting pretty good at it.”

At least two people have expressed interest in the position, Hollingsworth said, confirming Critell as one.

Noah Smith, who attended the meeting, said he is the other. He is a parent of three FWCS high school students and an administrator of the Facebook group KISS Keep Indiana Schools Strong.

A timeline hasn't been established for filling the looming vacancy. The board could select someone in December for a January swearing-in, Hollingsworth said, but she noted that might be optimistic.

In other business, the board approved $47,394 in spending related to a water main break that flooded the northeast section of Arlington Elementary School, forcing the cancellation of classes on Oct. 23, a Friday. The problem was fixed that weekend, and classes resumed Oct. 26.

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