Marilyn Taylor was sworn in to the Summit School District Board of Education at its meeting Tuesday. Taylor will fill the empty position left by Sheila Groneman, who left in early February.
Taylor was one of two candidates up for the position. The other was Cindy Bargell, a Summit Daily News columnist. After two weeks of deliberation, the board members held an open discussion at the meeting before voting.
Board president Margaret Carlson thanked both candidates for their interest, adding that the decision between the two was difficult to make.
"Both of you would bring very valuable skills and qualities to our board," Carlson said.
"I feel what Marilyn can bring to our group is an educator's perspective," she added.
"We're so fortunate to have two amazing candidates," said board vice-president Erin Young. "(Taylor's) background in education from every level is a perspective that we can all benefit from."
After discussing the two candidates, the board, with the exception of J. Kent McHose, who was absent, unanimously voted that Taylor should fill the position.
Taylor thanked the board for her nomination. "I'm in disbelief and thank you," she said. "I hope to get to know you really well."
Carlson swore Taylor in, who then moved to take her place at the table along with the rest of the board members. Taylor will hold the position until Groneman's original term ends, which will be November this year. Taylor will then have the opportunity to run for election to the board, if she chooses.
Following the swearing in of the new member, the board voted to appoint a new board secretary. Groneman had previously fulfilled the secretary role. With the absence of McHose, the board unanimously voted Alison Casias into the role of board secretary.
At the previous meeting, the board had discussed the possibility of moving the planned solar panel array at the middle school from the roof of the building to the ground nearby.
The proposed solar panels are part of a project approved by the board in November of last year to partner with Syndicated Solar and the Summit County-based Innovative Energy to build solar panel arrays in several locations across the district. Recent surveys done by Syndicated Solar indicated that the roof of the school building is not strong enough to support the solar panel array.
The company then suggested that the panels be arrayed on the ground, in open space between the middle school and facilities building. This configuration raised concerns about the size and appearance of the array. A second solution involved the solar panels extending from the edge of the roof like a canopy. However, considerations of timeline and cost came into play. As a result, the board voted that the solar panels at the middle school would not go forward into construction.
Solar panels will still be constructed at Summit Cove Elementary, Summit High School and the facilities building near the middle school. The facilities building will feature a canopy array, rather than a roof arrangement. According to Mark Rydberg, director of business services, the financial impact of this change is negligible. He added that the board can come back to the issue of solar panels at the middle school at a later date, when the timeline is not so constricting.