Gateway School Board appoints new member to fill vacancy created by resignation
The Gateway School Board accepted the resignation of a member then appointed a person to fill the vacancy during a special meeting held Tuesday.
Jesse Kalkstein, 32, said in a letter he would resign, effective immediately, “to be able to spend more time with my family and focus on my career.”
Kalkstein was not present during the meeting and was not immediately available to comment.
His letter was read by school board President Mary Beth Cirucci.
The board voted unanimously to approve the resignation, then board member George Lapcevich nominated Dawn Neilly to fill Kalkstein’s seat.
She was appointed 6-2. Board members Jack Bova and Scott Williams dissented.
Neilly, 56, said she served on Gateway’s school board from 2003 to 2011.
“I know the ins and outs, so I’m ready to get started,” she said. Neilly, a Monroeville resident, said her four daughters graduated from Gateway High School.
Monroeville Republican Committee Chair Len Young said at the meeting he was happy with the board’s decision to appoint Neilly, who is a Republican.
He said the committee will nominate Neilly so her name appears on November’s ballot.
Neilly will serve until December unless she wins election to the seat. An elected candidate would serve the rest of Kalkstein’s time on the board through 2021, Cirucci said. It was not immediately clear if there were other candidates interested in the seat.
Kalkstein’s resignation was not included in the meeting’s public agenda. Instead, it was added by Cirucci at the beginning of the meeting so Kalkstein could “control the narrative of his resignation.”
She said each school board member received a copy of Kalkstein’s resignation on July 17 then made phone calls among each other to discuss possible nominations.
She said the board considered three people, including Neilly.
Bruce Dice, the school district’s solicitor, said the board had no legal obligation to place Kalkstein’s resignation and the appointment to fill his vacancy on the agenda.
“Transparency is just a word that everybody uses today. The board doesn’t have to be transparent about anything when it comes to an appointment,” he said.
Dice said each board member received a copy of Kalkstein’s letter when Superintendent Bill Short made them available to it.
“But that doesn’t stop one person to call another – because (the resignation) is not accepted yet – to say ‘you know anybody interested in this?’ The board didn’t sit down and discuss what to do about that,” the solicitor said.
Cirucci said the board did not meet to talk about an appointment.
“I chose, as setting the agenda, to do that to protect Mr. Kalkstein (from rumors and gossip),” she said. “(Gateway School District) has a policy that allows us to put things on an agenda if we have a super majority. We followed the policy.”
Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Dillon at 412-871-2325, [email protected] or via Twitter .