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Editorial: Walter was right choice for school board seat

The Farmington School Board took a lot of criticism for its decision to appoint the replacement for departing board member Terry Donnelly. Many, including this newspaper, argued that the only fair way to fill the vacancy was to appoint the candidate who finished fourth in November's general election. Some accused the board of wanting to hand-pick a candidate who would fall in line with the wishes of the current board.

Funny how things work out. Veronica Walter, the election's fourth-place candidate, got the job this week. But it was the board members who chose her. And after watching the interview process Tuesday night it's hard to argue the decision.

That's not to say Carol Kappes could not be a good board member. Kappes has an admirable history of volunteering in this school district. She's been involved since she moved to Farmington in 2000 and, given her reactions throughout this convoluted election, process it's hard to imagine that will change. When she lost a coin flip for a shot at the general election Kappes said she would continue to work in the district, and she was there with board members watching returns come in on election night. As a volunteer in district schools and a member of district committees Kappes has made numerous contributions and we hope she will continue to do so.

That history of involvement played at least some role in the decision board members made Tuesday. But on this night it was hard to argue against Walter. Her answers showed a clear understanding of the district's operations and a willingness to work with board members and the community to get things done.

Kappes mostly seemed uncomfortable. That's understandable. It was an unusual situation. Having to answer questions about bond sales, strategic plans and the decision-making process in front of the school board -- not to mention the small crowd that gathered in the Farmington High School little theater -- can be nerve-racking. Those were the rules, though. And under those rules the decision was clear.

This has been an unusual election season in Farmington. It started in July and didn't end until more than a month after the election. There is finally a board in place, though. It will be interesting to see what the new year has in store.