It wasn’t a unanimous decision, but by a 4-2 vote, Greg Schwartz returned to the Hays USD 489 Board of Education.
Following Monday’s meeting, Schwartz took the oath of office and now only has to turn in the appropriate paperwork.
Schwartz served as a board member for 12 years before falling short of re-election in an April election in 2015.
But when Sarah Rankin announced her resignation to move with her family to Colorado, an open position became available.
That prompted Schwartz, Kevin Daniels, Lori Hertel and Tina Zimmerman to apply for the position.
At Monday’s meeting, each of the four applicants was given an opportunity to introduce themselves to the board and then answer questions.
Daniels, pastor at Hays Christian Church and an active member in the Home and School at Roosevelt Elementary School, got the nod from BOE members Luke Oborny and Paul Adams.
Josh Waddell and BOE Vice President Mandy Fox believed Schwartz to be the right fit for the district.
Upon a vote, President Lance Bickle and Danielle Lang also voted for Schwartz, giving him the seat.
Schwartz, who has been viewed in the past by some as a divisive member of the board, said he’s always been willing to speak his mind and question things.
“I’m not afraid to say those things, and that puts a target on you when you do,” Schwartz said when being questioned by the board. “I am who I am. I’m going to tell you what I think. I’m not going to sugar-coat it.”
Board members noted Schwartz’s experience on the board and knowledge of the budget helped provide him the leverage needed to earn the seat.
But a few others questioned whether the district had moved past the time when Schwartz served previously.
Adams said he worried the public would not see the trust with the board that has grown since Schwartz’s absence.
“I admit I like the history and strength there, but I’m looking to the future,” he said.
Upon being voted back to the board, Schwartz took his seat at the board table.