NORTH READING – School Committee members expressed regret over the recent resignation of member Karen Errichetti, who stepped down from the school board effective Feb. 15 after nearly six full years.

At the same time, the unanimous consensus of the remaining four committee members was not in favor of appointing a temporary replacement to fill Errichetti’s position, which is up for re-election in the annual town election on May 5.

The normal procedure for when a vacancy occurs on the School Committee is for a replacement to be made as a joint appointment by the remaining school board members and the Board of Selectmen. But in this case, Errichetti resigned so close to the election that the School Committee feels they can get along with just four members until May.

School board member Jerry Venezia said Errichetti will be missed.

“For the last six years she was a very valuable member of the School Committee. This year in particular we’ve had a challenging year with a lot of issues and Karen carried the ball on a couple of those issues, including the search for a new superintendent and a new high school principal.

“She did a great job, she took the bull by the horns and she got the job done. We’re going to miss her,” Venezia said.

Mel Webster said he’s not in favor of appointing a temporary member because of the timing involved. “It doesn’t make sense. It would take four or five weeks. We’d have to advertise (the position) and wait for applicants. We’d have to vet the candidates and then schedule a joint meeting with the Selectmen.”

After all is said and done, whoever would be appointed could end up actually sitting on the School Committee for only a month or so until the May election.

In addition, there are already two candidates for the two school board seats that will be up for renewal in the spring election. Venezia is running for re-election and Julie B. Koepke, 8 Elvira Rd., is also running for the School Committee.

After speaking to the Town Clerk, Superintendent of Schools Jon Bernard said he believes no action is necessary if the committee decides not to appoint a replacement. Other members Cliff Bowers and Janene Imbriano agreed there’s no need for a temporary appointment.

School building construction update

February has been a bad month for construction in general and the middle school construction project has been no exception, Supt. Bernard told the committee.

But the construction managers have shown “great persistence” to stay on schedule, he added. “The snow has posed some additional complications for us for sure.”

Bernard said the installation of windows in the new middle school is 70 percent complete and could be finished by the third week of February. The exterior brick work is ongoing and should also be finished by the end of the month. The building is not yet weather tight because of the weather and this has delayed most of the interior work such as putting up sheet rock, etc.

There is an ongoing effort, Bernard said, to lead to the commission of all the AV components of the school’s larger spaces like the performing arts center, the gymnasium, the distance learning lab and the cafeteria.

And lest anyone forget, the project includes the athletic team room building down by the football field. This was not finished in time for the fall sports schedule as originally hoped because work was concentrated first on completing the high school and now on the middle school. Bernard said the plan is have the team room building finished in the summer in time for the fall of 2015 seasons.

Venezia commented that even though they hoped the team room building would be finished early, the contract always called for a completion date of summer 2015.

Bowers said the most impressive thing about this portion of the project is the second floor of the old middle school structure where all the utilities are in place and they’ve started to put up dry wall.