The South Washington County school board has tapped a district employee to fill the seat of departed board member Leslee Boyd until the November elections.

The employee, Katy McElwee-Stevens, has been there before, having been appointed to serve on the board in 2006-07 while working as a paraprofessional at Newport Elementary School -- a position she still holds.

She was selected from among 14 people who applied for the seat and then five who were interviewed by board members Jan. 4.

When asked then why she wanted to serve, McElwee-Stevens said she was eager to "help lead this community and support the school district. As a parent and employee in the district, I see the needs and perspectives of both sides of the equation," a district news release said.

What becomes of the seat later this year is but one part of a potentially lively campaign season.

McElwee-Stevens, after being appointed to the board for the first time in 2006, failed to win election in 2007.

Two years later, she ran and came up short again as part of a crowded field that included Marsha Adou, Tracy Brunnette, Laurie Johnson and David Kemper, who now are on the board and up for re-election this year.

That means voters will decide who fills five board positions: the four four-year seats plus a two-year seat representing what would have been Boyd's final two years in office.

In addition, voters could see an excess levy request on the ballot, too. A $164-per-student levy that is set to expire in 2014 must be renewed by November if the board wants funding to continue.

Johnson said last week that barring unforeseen circumstances, she plans to seek re-election, though she's uncertain whether she'll pursue a four- or two-year position. She said that renewal of the levy expiring next year plus another that expires in 2015 are her chief priority.

The district is "accomplishing good things, but at a lower level of funding than many of our neighbor districts," she said.

Kemper, who has yet to decide whether to seek re-election, said that he is concerned about the district's fund balance.

"We are deficit spending and have to determine if we are going to renew our current levy or ask for more dollars to keep the current level of service," he said.

Adou and Brunnette could not be reached to comment.

McElwee-Stevens said last week she probably will run this fall. She lives in Newport and has worked at the elementary school since 2003, most recently with students with emotional behavior disorder. According to her résumé, McElwee-Stevens has lived, worked and volunteered in the district since 1988.

Her community service is extensive and includes work not only with the district, but also with Valleybrook Community Church and the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

Superintendent Keith Jacobus said in the news release that he was pleased with the board's "comprehensive process" to fill the vacant seat and that he was excited to work with McElwee-Stevens.

Anthony Lonetree • 651-925-5036