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Roseland school board fills trustee vacancy

The Roseland School District Board of Trustees on Wednesday named Mary Goe Balcerak to the five-member board after the resignation of Steve Velasquez.

Balcerak, 52, was sworn in Wednesday and is expected to serve out the remainder of Velasquez’s term, which ends in November. Balcerak, a community volunteer and consulting arborist, said she is likely to run for a four-year term in November.

Balcerak came in fourth out of four contenders in a race for three seats in 2010.

The district narrowly avoided a special election after Balcerak failed to receive three votes in earlier voting. Amanda Hernandez, daughter of sitting board member Sondra Beam, was also in contention for the post.

Beam abstained from the votes and discussion, leaving three board members to decide on the post. It was at least the second time the board has addressed the vacancy since early February. The board had until Sunday to make the provisional appointment or schedule a special election.

The cost for the special election was estimated to be approximately $22,000.

“I don’t have kids,” Balcerak said. “I am just really interested in serving my community.”

“I’m just really impressed with what the school district is doing to help this segment of kids to become successful.”

Staff Writer Kerry Benefield writes an education blog at extracredit.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. She can be reached at 526-8671, kerry.benefield@press democrat.com or on Twitter @benefield.

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