By Adam Swift and Seth Daniel
In a sudden move, District 5 School Committee member Julio Hernandez has resigned – one of the City’s up-and-coming political figures that many thought had a big future on the Committee.
Hernandez, a Chelsea High graduate, told the Record this week that it was with a heavy heart that he resigned, and he felt it was necessary as he had to work more hours and attend college at the same time.
“When I ran for office, I had more support from my family,” he said. “As rent started getting higher, I knew that I needed more income, and while still being in college, I decided to look at other jobs.
“I loved working in the School Committee, but it also made me angry to see some members not show up to meetings, not ask questions, and not have thorough discussions regarding our students’ education,” he continued. “Student advocacy has always been my platform, to serve all students the right way. From starting the policy of an outdoor graduation, to having the opportunity to work with many teachers who really care about this community. I now believe School Committee Members should be appointed, because our student’s education is no joke.”
Hernandez, 20, said college, family and financial constraints hit all at once this year, and he couldn’t in good conscience serve on the Committee while not being able to show up.
“I know once I’m done with college, I’ll be back to serve the community I love and cherish,” he said. “I want to thank all the people who supported me, and are still supporting me in my time of sorrow.”
At Monday night’s City Council meeting, Council President Damali Vidot said Hernandez had given notice to the City Clerk that he would be stepping down as of April.
Because his resignation is more than 180 days from a City Election, Vidot said the City Charter calls for a joint meeting of the Council and the School Committee within 30 days to appoint a replacement. That replacement would serve through the city election in November, when the position will be on the ballot.
“Julio was an incredible leader during his tenure,” said District 5 City Councillor Judith Garcia. “He did an incredible job while on the School Committee and was a great representative for District 5.”
Garcia encouraged anyone from District 5 who is interested to apply for the open seat.
However, Councillor-At-Large Roy Avellaneda said the Council and the School Committee may want to leave the position open until the municipal election.
“I may have some reservations about filling the post,” said Avellaneda. “There’s only one more month until (candidates can) pull papers, and then the election is in November. I feel it may be best to leave the seat unfilled.”
Appointing someone to a short-term on the School Committee would give that person a leg up on other candidates who run for the seat in the general election, Avellaneda said.