Ludwig shows interest in surprise vacant board seat

OBSERVER Photo by Damian Sebouhian The Fredonia board of education members took the oath of office during Tuesday’s re-organizational meeting. It was announced during the following regular meeting that Dan Ihasz had resigned, leaving a seat that is expected to be filled via appointment by August 21

Following a lengthy discussion regarding how best to proceed in filling a seat left suddenly vacant by the surprise resignation of Fredonia board of education member Dan Ihasz, former middle school principal Andy Ludwig announced that he plans on applying for the position.

“Right before the last school board election, I had some people contact me and ask me if it was OK if they wrote my name in,” Ludwig told the board.

“I got over 200 votes. I’m very interested in serving on the board and would love to represent the public, so you can expect my letter of interest and my resume shortly.”

Board President Michael Bobseine said that he and Vice President Cristina Gegenschatz had received Ihasz’s letter of resignation on June 30.

“We forwarded it to the other board members,” Bobseine said. “I think we were all a bit surprised. We are going to miss him; he did a great job for everyone in the district.”

Andy Ludwig

Superintendent Jeffrey Sortisio echoed Bobseine’s sentiments.

“It’s with a heavy heart for all of us that we accept Mr. Ihasz’s resignation. He served the board and the community to his fullest abilities and we appreciate his work and respect his decision. He’ll be missed.”

Perhaps more surprising than Ihasz’s resignation was Ludwig’s announcement to apply for the empty seat, which is tentatively scheduled to be filled via board appointment by Aug. 21.

Although Ludwig had a long storied history with the district since becoming a math teacher in 1985, then principal in 2002, his departure was tinged with controversy and mystery.

After being put on administrative leave for undisclosed reasons during the fall of 2017, Ludwig entered into a separation agreement with the district that culminated in his being effectively retired by June 30, the very day Bobseine received Ihasz’s letter of resignation.

Before Ludwig made his intentions known, the board discussed how to best move forward with filling the vacant seat, deciding to go through an application and appointment process rather than opting for an election.

With that determined, the board is officially taking letters of intent and resumes. The process is scheduled as follows:

¯ Aug. 1: Deadline for an applicant to submit a letter of intention along with a resume. The application must be sent to the district clerk by 4 p.m.

¯ Aug. 6: The board will review all applications and schedule individual interviews.

¯ Aug. 13: The board will conduct interviews.

¯ Aug. 21: The board will appoint the new board member and announce the appointment during that evenings meeting.

The term will be effective from August 21 through election day on May 2019.

Whomever is appointed could presumably run for the seat for a full term.

Bobseine said that all applicants will go through the interview process.

“If we get 15 applications, I’m thinking we may have to interview 15 people.”

For more information on how to apply, call district clerk Jessica Legere at 679-1581, ext. 2701.

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