BENNINGTON -- A member of the Bennington School District Board has stepped down from his position in order to spend more time with his family.
Kelly Kennedy, who was elected to a three-year board term in March, submitted his letter of resignation to board chairman Ken Swierad on Monday. The letter was then read aloud and accepted at the school board's budget meeting on Wednesday.
Something had to give
In a phone interview on Wednesday, Kennedy said his primary reason for resigning was time. "I thought I could be a hero and hold down coaching, the board, a job that takes up 10 hours a day, and a family life," said Kennedy, who has coached basketball at Mount Anthony Union Middle School for the past 29 years.
He said that something had to give, and he couldn't give up coaching, as he had spent almost 30 years of his life with the program, or his job, and he wasn't willing to sacrifice his family life. "The odd man out was the board," said Kennedy.
"It has nothing to do with the school, fellow board members, or the superintendent," said Kennedy, "it was simply a matter of time commitment."
Kennedy noted that he recently enrolled his two children in Battenkill Valley Supervisory Union schools. He said while that may have played a small role in his decision to resign, time was his primary concern.
Sean-Marie Oller, chairwoman of the SVSU board of directors confirmed that if a board member moved out of the town they would be ineligible to continue serving. However, BSD chairman Ken Swierad said that Kennedy still lived in Bennington, but was also renting property in Arlington so that his children could be a part of the special education department there. Swierad indicated that Kennedy would have been allowed to remain on the board had he not resigned.
He was elected to the board in March in an election that featured three people vying for two seats. Board member Laurie Cohen had declined to seek a third term, and incumbent Jackie Prue was running against Kennedy and Jackie Kelly. Kennedy won comfortably, receiving 1,218 votes. Prue was re-elected with 876 votes, and Kelly finished a close third with 808 votes.
Kennedy wrote a letter to the editor to the Banner on March 13, in which he said, "I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who supported me in the recent election to the Bennington School District Board of Directors. I look forward to working together with my fellow BSD board members, the administration, the faculty along with the entire community to strive to make our entire school system and educational experience for our students something we can all be extremely proud of. Thank you all again for your support."
Kennedy apologized to those who had voted him onto the board, saying, "I feel terrible about making that commitment, getting voted in, and then not being able to live up to the commitment."
Derek Carson can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @DerekCarsonBB