HIGHLAND | The Highland School Board has appointed a new member to finish the term of Larry Vassar, who died suddenly last month.
The board voted for Carlos Aburto to fill the seat for what remains of Vassar's term, which runs through November 2014.
Aburto, president of the Highland Park Board, probably will be sworn in prior to the next meeting so he can begin working right away, board President Luanne Jurczak said.
The board voted 3-0 to elect Aburto from 19 original applicants.
Board member Robert Kuva abstained from the vote, questioning why no interviews were conducted to fill the vacancy.
"The only information we had to go on were the letters of interest provided by each candidate," Kuva said in a prepared statement. "They were not asked to answer specific questions or even to provide a current resume."
Kuva said some other school systems conduct interviews to fill a seat, but he also recognized such interviews are not required.
Kuva acknowledged that Aburto may still have been the final choice even if interviews had been conducted, but said the interview process should still have taken place.
Vassar served on the board for several decades, including stints as its president.
"I've lost a close friend and a colleague," Jurczak said, adding that she also looks forward to working with Aburto.
The board's next business meeting is Dec. 17.