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Belmont panel splits votes between two candidates for empty School Committee seat

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  September 23, 2013 03:58 PM

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Belmont officials couldn't decide who to appoint to an empty School Committee seat this morning, as a panel of eight voters split their votes evenly between two Belmont women vying for the seat.

Lisa Fiore and Elizabeth Gibson each received four votes from the panel, made up of Belmont's three selectmen and five School Committee members. The panel will reconvene either this Friday or next Monday, tentatively, after consulting with the town's lawyer on how to conduct a tiebreaker, said selectman Andy Rojas.

The School Committee seat, vacated by Pascha Griffiths this summer for personal reasons, will be filled by the appointee until the next town-wide election next April, Rojas said.

Both candidates offer relevant background to the board and demonstrate comfort with leadership, according to their letters of interest to the town.

Fiore, an education professor at Lesley University, serves as the college's dean of faculty and also sits on various education and parenting boards throughout the region. She regularly volunteers at schools, and has spent a good chunk of her career culling through textbook manuscripts, she said in her letter.

Gibson is a former School Committee member, having served on the board from 2003 to 2009, and helped establish Belmont's three-year old Everett C. Benton Library on Oakley Road, where she currently chairs the board of directors. She noted in her letter that she has experience in superintendent searching and vetting, which the current committee is now poised to do in the coming year.

The Belmont School Committee consists of six members each serving three-year terms. Committee members are tasked with creating school policy, appointing the superintendent, approving the district's schools budget, and negotiating with school unions, according the board's website.

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Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com

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