West York district board member resigns weeks before election

West York Area High School in West Manchester Township, Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. Dawn J. Sagert

 West York Area school board member David Strine resigned Tuesday with more than two years left on his term.

On Tuesday, the school board unanimously accepted Strine's immediate resignation and announced plans to appoint Strine's successor to finish his term since November's municipal elections are less than 60 days away.

"It was a little bit of a surprise," said board President Todd Gettys, who noted that Strine had some health issues.

Strine was absent from the Tuesday meeting.

The person appointed to the post will serve until the term expires in 2021, said district solicitor Jeffry Litts. 

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"It is with deep regret that I'm tendering my resignation as a school board director of the West York Area School District," Strine wrote in his resignation letter. "I've thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to serve our community, but for personal and health-related reasons, I believe this is the best for the district and myself."

Strine was also the district representative on the York County School of Technology Joint Operating Committee. Gettys thanked him for his service, adding that he hopes Strine can continue his support of the "bulldog community" in some way in the future.

"He was always very passionate about being a school board member and always had some interesting insight," said board member Suzanne Smith.

The board has 30 calendar days to appoint a replacement — which must have five affirmative votes — under public school code, Litts said.

If the board fails to do so, 10 district residents may petition the Court of Common Pleas to request someone be appointed, Litts said, though he said he has never seen that happen.

Gettys suggested either of the outgoing board members, Rodney Drawbaugh and Douglas Hoover — who are not running for reelection — be selected to fill the vacancy since they're up to speed and have been previously been elected by the community. Board Treasurer George Margetas said he'd be in support of both candidates.

West York Area School Board members (L to R) Donald Carl, Suzanne Smith, Rodney Drawbaugh and Lynn Kohler, at the June 12 work session meeting.

Board Vice President Jeanne Herman countered that it might be prudent to appoint someone who'd be willing to serve beyond Strine's term, as it will be a learning curve for a new board member regardless. Board member Donald Carl was in support of keeping options open.

"Better to have someone learn sooner rather than later," Herman said.

Herman also added that she and other candidates who are running in the November election might consider applying for the open position in case they are not elected.

Write-in candidate Brandy Shope secured a spot on the November ballot, meaning there are now six candidates running for five seats.

More:Write-ins win spots on November school board ballots

Under the Sunshine Act, interviews for board candidates must be public, though the board is undecided if it will conduct them. The board is accepting written or emailed communications of intent from applicants through Oct. 31 and plans to vote during its Nov. 12 work session.