Friday, May 20, 2022

With ‘bittersweet’ resignation, York County races to fill District 2 school board seat

York County District 2 School Board Member Cindy Kirschke (Courtesy YCSD)

For residents in York County District 2 seeking to become involved in their local school board, the window of opportunity has opened.

The York County School Division is seeking qualified applicants to fill the school board seat being vacated by Cindy Kirschke, who will resign June 19.

In her second term on the School Board, Kirschke is resigning because she and her family are moving to Northern Virginia, according to a school division press release.

Kirschke has represented District 2, which serves Coventry and Kiln Creek areas, since being first elected in 2012.  The majority of students living in her district, roughly 2000-2,500, attend four schools including Coventry Elementary, Grafton-Bethel, Grafton Middle and High schools.

“The decision [to leave] is bittersweet. It has been a tremendous honor,” Kirshke said. “I have tried very hard to open the lines of communication with the School Board and the community.”

Kirschke ran to be a voice for families and citizens, so everyone could better understand what is going on in York County schools and the decisions the board makes, which affect their children, she said.

During her tenure, an important project for Kirschke was a push for a later start of school time for the high school students.

Currently the high schools begin at 7:20 a.m., while middle school begins at 8 a.m.

Kirschke cited medical research from consultants, who said earlier start times lead to sleep deprivation and other problems.

“I think it would be in the interest of our students,” she said. “It would improve their health and their academic success.”

York County School Division school buses standing by. (file photo)

The school district had been reviewing, pursuing options, including looking at school bus efficiency since Kirschke proposed the idea in 2012.

The issue, which has plodded along ever since, was again up for discussion at the School Board’s next work session meeting, but has been postponed to a later date, Kirschke said.

“I hate that I’m leaving before that is being accomplished,” Kirschke said. “That is my biggest regret.”

With Kirschke’s impending departure, the School Board will now need to appoint an interim board member ahead of the special election required in November to fill her seat, according to schools spokeswoman Katherine Goff.

According to its website, The York County School Division is governed by an elected School Board comprised of five members, one from each of the county’s five election districts.

Elections are held every four years, with the next election taking place in 2019.

The last time the School Board had to fill a vacancy was in 2016. That time it was the District 4 school board seat left vacant following the death of long-time board member Page Minter.

For the District 2 seat, voters will ultimately choose a candidate to complete the term via a special election on the Nov. 7 general election ballot. The term will expire January, 2020.

The School Board will accept applications to fill the District 2 seat for the interim until June 14 at 5 p.m.

Interested applicants should be qualified voters and residents of District 2 in York County at the time of appointment.

Letters of interest and resumes should be sent to the York County School Division offices, 302 Dare Rd. Resumes should include the applicant’s home address, telephone number and email, if available.

Applicants may submit via fax (855) 711-2060, email (bhaywood@ycsd.york.va.us) via mail or in person.

Additional information is available by calling the School Board Office at (757) 898-0310

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