Board of Education Members Tasked to Fill the Late-Patricia O’Neill’s Seat

It is up to the remaining Montgomery County Public Schools Board of Education members to fill the seat of Patricia O’Neill, who died Tuesday. Her term expires in 2022.

According to the Board of Education handbook, when an elected member of the Board dies or is removed from office, “the remaining members of the Board will select a qualified individual to fill the vacancy.”  As O’Neill represented District 3, the new person must be chosen from that district and be a registered voter in Montgomery County. If the recommended person is a MCPS employee, that person would have to resign before serving on the BOE.

The BOE can discuss this matter, including the process, in a closed session, according to the handbook.

Generally, according to the handbook, the BOE seeks interested applicants and reviews their applications.

O’Neill was in her sixth term on the BOE and was its longest-serving member. She was first elected to the board in 1998 and before her sudden death, she was serving her sixth four-year term. During her 20 years of service, she served as president of the board five times and vice president of the board six times.

Elected officials in both Montgomery County and the state have gone on social media to praise her efforts, devotion and institutional memory. MCEA President Jennifer Martin sent a statement to MyMCM. “It is with deep sadness that MCEA notes the sudden passing of Pat O’Neill, who served with distinction for more than twenty years.

“MCEA members could always count on Pat to be willing to listen and do her best to help educators, as well as our students. Consequently, over the years, Pat consistently earned a well-deserved place on MCEA’s Apple Ballot.” Martin also wrote, “We have lost a trusted leader in public education and a true friend of educators.”

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