Soon, there will be three people on the nine-member York City school board who were not selected by voters.

The board unanimously decided at a special meeting Tuesday night to vacate the seat held by longtime member Beverly Atwater, who has rarely attended school board meetings in recent months.

Her attendance had been so poor, her fellow board members refused to allow her to vote in July on New Hope Academy's charter renewal, saying she hadn't attended the pertinent hearings or even read the transcripts of the proceedings.

Atwater has served the board well over the years. Elected in 2001, she was the longest-tenured board member and once served as vice president.

She didn't comment immediately before or after Tuesday's vote, so it's unclear why she missed so many meetings.

There could be any number of perfectly legitimate reasons, really.

Situations change. What was once doable can become a hardship.

That was the case for Gregg Nelson, who resigned from the board last month, saying he didn't feel he had enough time to serve because of family obligations.

In October, Gary Calhoun also resigned. He alleged unidentified staff members at Ferguson Elementary said he was telling them how to do their jobs, which is forbidden for school board members.


Calhoun's therapeutic support job -- which he's been doing for 15 years -- with an outside company involved him working in Ferguson classrooms. He denied getting in the way of teachers, but said he'd rather resign from the board than have his company deal with more allegations.

Fair enough. With his livelihood at stake, Calhoun decided to step aside.

Ideally, anyone who runs for office understands the commitment and is prepared to put in the time necessary.

But if life changes ever make that impossible, he or she needs to bow out gracefully -- step aside immediately and let someone else sit at the table.

There's more than enough work in the York City School District for nine school board members. We don't think eight should have to pick up the slack for a frequently absent colleague.

They certainly shouldn't have to forcibly remove a member who clearly doesn't have enough time for the job. Yet this was the second time in four years the board has had to take such action. Hiawatha Powell was removed in 2009 because of his lack of regular attendance.

Applications are now being taken from candidates interested in replacing Atwater -- a welcome change from the process used to fill Nelson's and Calhoun's seats. In those cases, the board simply made appointments with no input from the public.

So if you're interested in improving the lives of York City students and taxpayers, give the board a call.

But remember -- it's no cakewalk.

And attendance is required.