Central Bucks School District officials are expected to name one of Warwick’s five residents to replace former Area 9 member John Gamble on Tuesday.
The district released the names and responses to a questionnaire about their qualifications late last week and announced the planned vote early Monday morning at www.cbsd.org.
The board will meet at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday to choose Gamble’s replacement and then swear him in immediately after.
With the exception of Shubinsky, who moved to the region last July, all of the applicants have lived in the district for several years to three decades.
All five applicants have children or grandchildren enrolled in district schools, according to online applications.
While the chosen candidate will only be in office for a relatively short period of time, he or she will also likely become the deciding vote on issues such as the often divisive pandemic health and safety plan.
The health and safety plan, which indicates whether the district will need masks or not, has been the center of lively meetings in recent months.
Gamble, whose term ended in December, resigned on August 31 after receiving a death threat for being the deciding vote in a previous meeting that kept masks optional when the school year began on August 30 .
The board would ultimately vote to require masks on the night Gamble resigned, a change forced by the state’s health ministry order making the masks required in K-12 schools effective September 7.
Gamble was not seeking re-election this year, leaving Democratic candidate Diana Leygerman and Republican candidate Jim Pepper to face each other on November 2 for a full four-year term.
Leygerman had previously applied for the Gamble seat until December, but told the news agency on Monday morning that she had withdrawn her name to focus on her campaign.
Tensions between board members have reached a boiling point since Gamble’s resignation.
The council voted three times on September 14 to appoint board members Lorraine Sciuto-Ballasy, Karen Smith or Sharon Collopy as vice president, but a tie vote meant no new second-in-command for the schools board.
Smith also proposed amending the school district’s mask exemption form to require the signature of a doctor who also did not advance in a 4-4 vote.
The school district had more than 1,100 pending medical exemption requests as of September 17.
The state mask order authorized medical exemptions, recommending that districts follow “established processes to determine student eligibility (under Section 504) … including any medical documentation they would normally require. “.
The health department has since added that districts approving exemptions with only “parent’s approval” and no medical documentation would not comply with the order.
The votes may have ended up coming to naught, but they seemed to show more clearly an alliance between board members regarding certain pandemic rules.
On one side are President Dana Hunter and Collopy members Daniel Ring and Leigh Vlasblom, former supporters of the optional mask plans who also opposed changing the exemption form two weeks ago.
On the other, Ballasy and Smith, as well as directors Tracy Suits and Jodi Schwartz, who have already supported masking at least until a vaccine for children under 12 became available and preferred to demand a doctor’s note for an exemption.
Little is currently known about what the five candidates think about mask mandates in schools, with the possible exception of the most controversial candidate, TJ Kosin.
Kosin was put in the public spotlight in August after posting a flyer to rally outside the school district boardroom at 16 Welden Dr. in Doylestown Township several hours before the August 25 meeting that could have delivered mandatory masks.
The flyer said the proposed rally was being organized by Kosin’s non-profit political group, the Proud American Patriots Network, which immediately drew attention online that the group was anti-government. militia.
Online documents related to the organization included references to the Three Percent Movement, a movement that has seen members of some affiliated groups arrested for participating in the January 6 riots on the United States Capitol.
Kosin said his group was formed after he and other members left a three percent group in 2020 after the leadership appeared to be radicalized.
Kosin called off the rally after the online reaction, but maintained that the group never planned to show up armed at the meeting.
PAPN’s origins aside, Kosin strongly opposes the requirement for masks as he says they caused his young daughter problems with anxiety and disrupted his autistic son’s education.
Kosin, Farley and Shubinsky are registered Republicans while Miller and True are unaffiliated, according to Pennsylvania State Department voter registration data as of August 30.
There are about 9,400 voters in Region 9, with Republican voters making up about 45% of the region’s electorate.
About 3,510 Democrats make up about 37% of voters, while unaffiliated voters like Miller and True make up nearly 12% of all voters.
The current board of directors is currently majority Republican, with the exception of Democrats Schwartz, Smith and Suits.