With the recent resignation of Jon Coughlin, who moved out of the district, the Stoughton School Board will operate with eight members through the April 7 election.

Incumbents Tim Bubon and Steve Jackson, and newcomers Holly Telander and Jessica Royko, are competing for three open seats on the board, including Coughlin’s, who was not seeking re-election. After consulting with legal counsel, district superintendent Tim Onsager told board members at Monday night’s meeting they had some “flexibility,” with the election so close and the fact that Coughlin isn’t on the ballot.

He said the board could appoint someone, but according to district bylaws, the position would need to be posted in the Hub for two weeks, which essentially meant the new member would only be available for one or two meetings.

“You are well within your statutory time to leave it open until the election and then it will be filled naturally by the voters,” Onsager said.

Board president Frank Sullivan said his “strong inclination” was to leave it open, and no one had any objections, though Joe Freye pointed out the board would need to elect a new treasurer to succeed Coughlin. Sullivan said the board will do that at its next meeting.

Going from a nine- to an eight-member board will slightly alter the math needed to pass motions, as Onsager pointed out a 4-4 tie would result in a failed motion. It’s a small difference that at least theoretically could be significant, as four members could block motions when previously five would be needed.

Email Unified Newspaper Group reporter Scott De Laruelle at scott.delaruelle@wcinet.com.