The House of Representatives unanimously passed yesterday a Senate bill that will require a special election to fill a Board of Education vacancy.
Senate Bill 22-26, Senate Draft 1, authored by Sen. Justo S. Quitugua (R-Saipan), will also clarify when an elected member of the BOE must resign from his or her Public School System employment.
All 18 representatives present voted “yes” to pass the legislation. Reps. Denita K. Yangetmai (D-Saipan) and Joseph Lee Pan Guerrero (R-Saipan) were absent but excused from the session.
The bill now goes to the governor’s office.
The House Committee on Education chaired by Rep. Leila Staffler (D-Saipan) had recommended passing the bill.
Quitugua introduced the bill last Feb. 19. The Senate passed the legislation last March 12 and it was subsequently referred to the House Committee on Education.
Under the bill, any vacancy in the BOE caused by the death, resignation, or removal of an appointed member shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment to serve the unexpired term of that vacancy.
Upon a vacancy on the board caused by the death, resignation, or removal of an elected member, the governor shall appoint the candidate who received the next highest number of votes in the same election or district where the former board member was elected, regardless of the time remaining in the term of office.
If no candidate is interested in filling the vacancy or no person is certified as a candidate during a general election, a vacancy on the BOE shall be filled by a special election.
The Commonwealth Election Commission shall conduct a special election to fill such a vacancy within 30 days after a vacancy on the board is declared or the general election results are certified if no person is certified as a candidate during a general election.
Elected members who are employed by the PSS, shall resign from their employment upon certification that they are duly elected as a member of the BOE by the Board of Elections.
In the event the appointed teacher representative is not able to serve the complete term, or resigns, the commissioner shall submit the name of the second candidate in the last run-off election to the governor to appoint as the new teacher representative to complete the remaining period of time.