swearing in

The Henderson School Board welcomed a new member Tuesday evening as Adam Duey was sworn in as a trustee representing District 5. Duey won the seat by defeating incumbent Jon Best in the Nov. 5 election. 

Trustees met briefly last Friday to officially canvas the election results. District 1 incumbent Jean William and District 2 incumbent Harold Sentmore were both unopposed. 

Rusk County Justice of Peace Pct. 5 Jana Enloe administered the oath of office to Duey and Sentmore. Williams was absent from the meeting.

Best was briefly on hand at the start of the board meeting and was honored by the board for his service as a trustee. Several of the trustees thanked him for his leadership and Best ran down a list of accomplishments he had been a part of over the past several years. 

Best ended his comments with a simple, “Godspeed and every kid matters. Goodbye and good luck.”

The board also held a public forum on the district’s Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) rating. Finance Director Kristin Byrd highlighted the report. The district received a “Superior” rating scoring a perfect 100 points for the 2018 fiscal year. 

The board spent the bulk of the meeting discussing minor changes to the board standard operating procedures. Superintendent Thurston Lamb asked the board to consider a number of small changes to reflect the current procedures, changes in law to and update grammatical errors. The board also discussed changes to the public comment section. 

The Texas legislature recently enacted a law that allows for audience members to comment on any agenda item before a vote it taken. 

Board President Jamey Holmes said he was unclear on whether that was in addition to the typical public forum time or a modification of that time. 

Currently, the board limits public comments to a total of 15 minutes and asks people who wish to speak on the same topic to choose a single spokesperson.

“I think anyone who wants to speak should be allowed to speak,” offered Trustee Jon Johnston. “I think if they make the effort to come up here, they ought to get their three minutes. I’ve got all night.”

The board agreed to keep the three minutes per person with a fifteen minute total as a guideline but allow the chairman to extend it at his or her discretion.

“This is an ongoing process,” said Holmes regarding the document’s revision. He noted the board will revisit the guidelines again. 

After a handful of other agenda items, the board moved into a closed-door session to discuss the reorganization of the board. The board cited the law’s allowance to discuss personnel issues which can include “public officers” as the reason for the executive session. 

Holmes said the board must reorganize (choose a chairman and a vice-chairman) after each election but he felt they should wait until Williams could be present.

“I expect we will keep it like it is for now,” said Holms as he walked to the secluded conference room, “and then do a reorganization again next month.”

Lamb said the reorganization was the only item to be considered in the executive session. 

In other business the board:

Received an update from the Lamb on current attendance trends, holiday schedules and upcoming events. Lamb also noted that teachers will receive their $750 stipend beginning on November 22. 

Approved the minutes of the Oct. 8 meeting.

Approved the financial report for October 2019.

Approved a new calendar committee to compile next year’s school calendar.

Approved a textbook committee for English Language Arts books.

Cast 850 votes for Trustee Drew Butler, effectively electing him to the Rusk County Appraisal District Board of Directors. The board cast its remaining 477 voted for Deny Ebby who the school board also nominated.

Set the date of the next board meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 10.

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