You aren't wrong to ask: continuity in governance is a basic element of political stability.
Under the section 4-6 of the Worcester municipal charter (starts on page 92 over here) regarding vacancies on the Worcester School Committee:
If a vacancy shall occur amongst the six at-large members of the school committee, said vacancy shall be filled in the same manner as provided in section 2-10(a) for the filing of vacancies in the office of councilor-at-large, from among the candidates for election to the office of school committee at the preceding regular municipal electionTo be clear, section 2-10 says:
(a) Councilors-at-large - If a vacancy shall occur in the office of councilorat-large, the vacancy shall be filled in descending order of votes received by the candidate for the office of councilor-at-large at the preceding regular municipal election who received the largest number of votes for the office of councilor-atlarge without being elected, provided such person remains eligible and willing to serve. The board of election commissioners shall certify such candidate to the office of councilor-at-large to serve for the balance of the then unexpired termThat would be the November 2017 election, in which the results were:
|School Committee election results from November 2017: O'Connell, Foley, Monfredo, McCullough, Comparetto, Biancheria, Colorio. The first six serve on the Committee.|
The seventh place finisher was Donna Colorio with 7,534 votes (behind sixth place Dianna Biancheria with 7,824). Colorio is not running for Worcester School Committee at this time; she is, however, running for Worcester City Council at Large and has left her name on the ballot for mayor.
It does, note, take a meeting of the Election Commission to certify the filling of the vacant seat.
There are no Worcester School Committee meetings remaining before the municipal election on November 5. There are two meetings in November and at least one in December. The newly elected Worcester School Committee will be sworn in the first full week of January (January 6th, if memory serves).
And yes, the municipal ballots for the November election already exist; in fact, absentee ballots have already gone out to voters.
UPDATE: Per Nick Kotsopoulos, the Election Commission will meet October 25. Among the things they'll decide upon is what will be shared with voters about Brian O'Connell's passing.