FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The Fort Wayne Community School Board has filled its vacancy.
On Monday, the school board voted for businessman Noah Smith to fill the open District 3 seat. The seat was formerly held by Tom Smith, who was re-elected in November but told the board he would step down on Jan. 1.
“I look forward to working with them (District 3) and being a representative for them, and advocating for them,” said newly elected school board member Noah Smith. “I’m excited to be given that opportunity and make a difference for them and for our schools and our community as a whole.”
Smith is a banking consultant and has three girls enrolled in the district. In recent years he says education has become a passion and has advocated for FWCS at the state level. He says he applied for the board position because it felt like the right time.
“As it was mentioned in the board meeting the upcoming session in Indianapolis will be very important,” Smith said. “It will greatly impact the district and I wanted to be apart of helping the district to be in the best situation it can be.”
Toward the end of the meeting, Tom Smith and Glenna Jehl were given an award for their service on the board.
Jehl, who has served for eight years, was unseated in FWCS District 2 by Jennifer Matthias. Both Matthias and Smith will join the board for their first meeting in January.
A big topic of the meeting was the Next Level Teacher Compensation Commission report on improving teacher compensation in Indiana.
“We are going to have to collectively make some difficult choices,” said Board member Steve Corona.
School board members also suggested cutting funding for students taking vouchers to attend school outside of the district and putting a cap on vouchers.
During the 2018-19 school year, more than four thousand students who lived in FWCS chose to attend school elsewhere. This has cost the school more than $20 million.
Several board members urged voters to contact their local representatives to help increase teacher pay and help fund schools. The next FWCS school board meeting will be held in January.