TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - It was a much different meeting for the Washington Local School Board Wednesday night.
A night described as a relief for several, after Patrick Hickey's resignation from the board Tuesday.
Hickey appeared in court Wednesday and maintains his innocence, pleading not guilty to three counts of criminal sexual conduct.
And Wednesday was the last time the WLS Board would meet off school grounds at the Conn-Weissenberger Post.
The space was used because Patrick Hickey was not allowed on school grounds. The district paid $550 a month to use the space, but now board members say they can go back to school grounds and move forward together.
"It's very refreshing," said Elizabeth Zimmerman, a WLS parent about the district moving forward.
"There's been a lot out there," said Mark Hughes, a school board member. "And it's time to keep our focus on kids and return our focus to kids."
"I'm really excited to go back home, back to Linconshire and move forward," said Lisa Canales, a WLS Board member.
It feels like a step forward for some in the Washington local school district as they are looking to the future without Patrick Hickey on their board.
"It's really a pleasure to see everybody finally be able to take a collective sigh of relief and say we're getting back to what we've been good at all along," said Thomas Ilstrup, the school board president.
Several say they are excited to solely focus on their students.
"The way these kids learn is from us," Andrew Zimmerman, a WLS dad. "And it perpetuates down. We can only do better and we need to do that."
The WLS board only has ten days from Hickey's resignation to fill the vacant seat on the board. They are accepting letters of interest immediately, but voters say they are watching who's appointed closely.
"I've lived in Washington Local for 17 years and have always voted for a levy," said Elizabeth Zimmerman, a WLS mother of two. "This is my first time saying I'm not going to if you put a board member that we have just voted out back on this board."
Current board members say they are looking for someone who loves this district and wants to do what is right for their students.
The deadline for applicants for the vacant seat is March 28th at 12:00 p.m. The board has planned four meetings next week to interview candidates before their time allowed by law runs out.
In addition, the board took steps forward by extending the Superintendent, Susan Hayward's contract, something several have been calling for.
The deal runs through 2022 and will pay Hayward over $149,000 a year.