This story was updated Aug. 1 at 9:15 a.m.
There are 14 people who have applied to be appointed to the Humble ISD School Board. The vacancy, Position 6, occurred when former trustee Heath Rushing resigned earlier this year due to a job relocation. The appointment will extend until the May 2019 election.
The board decided last month to make the choice themselves rather than holding an election, announcing at the June meeting they would accept applications through Monday, July 31, at 5 p.m. As the deadline drew near, four additional applications were submitted, bringing the total to 14.
Robert Scarfo, Lohit Datta-Barua, Maury Hudson, Ted LeBlanc, Bob Rehak, Corinn Price, Cynthia Cantrell, Christopher Herron, Joy Thomas, Rebekah Curran, Sarah Bull, G. Carneta Hunte-Larkin, Remon Davis and Colin Carney are seeking the appointment.
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Hudson is an energy company executive and father to three Humble ISD students. Carney is a CPA with PricewaterhouseCoopers and is a father of two.
First joining the board in 2008, Scarfo lost his re-election bid to challenger Nancy Morrison in the general election . Scarfo declined to answer when asked if he saw a conflict of asking to be appointed after the voters clearly felt otherwise. Nor did he answer a question regarding feeling “in debt” to, and thereby compelled to follow the wishes of those who appoint him. Hudson did answer the question, saying he would not since he has prior experience working on boards, weighing issues and making decisions with students' interests in mind.
Datta-Barua, a retired engineer, and Rehak, a retired advertising executive, both ran unsuccessfully in the recent general election held May 6, 2017. LeBlanc runs a for-profit business organizing fundraisers for charities.
Herron, an executive with NRG, ran in the last election but did not secure a seat. Price works for Insperity and ran unsuccessfully in the May 2013 election. Cantrell stated she is a homemaker and a longtime volunteer in Humble schools. Davis works for AT&T as a telecommunication specialist.
Bull is a pilot for United Airlines, Hunte-Larkin is a business owner, Curran is a mother who homeschools her children and Thomas is an attorney.
All applicants were asked to commit to running in 2019 for a four-year term. Under state law, qualifications for a board member include living in the district for at least 18 months, being 18 years old or older, and being a registered voter in the district.
The board, in a split vote, decided to make the choice themselves instead of allowing the taxpayers to vote; the reasoning put forth was the cost of holding an election and historical precedent. The decision to deny voters a voice in the decision drew fierce criticism on social media sites like Facebook’s Humble ISD Parents page.
The district released the following statement when announcing the application process: When a vacancy occurs on a school board, Texas law requires that districts fill the position within 180 days of the vacancy if more than a year remains on the term. The district under state law would have been permitted to hold a special election to fill the seat, rather than fill by appointment, but it costs about $50,000 to hold a special election. Since 1951, there have been 19 times when a vacancy on the Humble ISD School Board occurred before the term had expired. In no instance was a special election held. Fourteen times the position was filled by appointment, and five times the position remain unfilled until the regularly scheduled election. Position 6 must be filled due to there being more than a year remaining on the term.
A special board meeting is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 1 where the board is expected to make the decision with the new board member being sworn in at the regular August meeting, Aug. 8.
The complete application for each person seeking the seat may be found at OurTribune.com. Look for the information on the horizontal site directory bar on the home page.
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