By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (January 20, 2015) — Gary Sult, Sherrie Evans and Keri Vanden Berge knew the day was coming. Now it has arrived.
It’s time for them to decide if they will run as incumbents to keep their seats on the Stephenville ISD Board of Trustees.
Before Monday’s regular board meeting began, Evans confirmed she will run for re-election, while Gary Sult said he would “probably” do the same. Vanden Berge was absent from the meeting.
Sult currently holds Place 1, Evans Place 2 and Vanden Berge Place 3 on the board, which also has a two-year opening in Place 7. Former board vice president Doug McLemore vacated Place 7 last fall, and the board elected to leave the seat vacant until the general election.
One new face has already confirmed he is throwing his name in the hat. Cornerstone Assembly pastor Ed Dittfurth confirmed Tuesday evening that he plans to run for the vacant seat.
“It’s not in my heart to unseat anyone on the board, but it is in my heart to serve,” said Dittfurth, who attended Monday’s meeting. “I feel like it’s something I’ve been called to do.”
Election day is May 9, with early voting set for April 27-May 1 as well as May 4-5 at the Erath County Courthouse. Candidates must file for election between Jan. 28 and Feb. 27. Following the election, votes will be canvassed between May 12 and May 18, in time for trustees to canvass results at May’s regular monthly meeting.
Superintendent Matt Underwood began the meeting – which was pushed back from Monday due to Martin Luther King Day – by commending faculty from Hook Elementary School and Stephenville High School after those campuses earned a spot in the Texas Honor Circle. Both SISD campuses are among the top four percent in the state according to criteria set forth by the Financial Allocation Study for Texas (FAST).
“They honor campuses based on both efficiency and proficiency,” said an excited Underwood. “It takes into account both results and funding to determine your level of success, and we’re very proud of both campuses.”
Underwood also praised trustees for their time and sacrifice, noting that January is School Board Appreciation Month and that each campus in the district is using their electronic marquee to scroll messages of appreciation to different trustees.
“School board is a very, very tough job. They take a lot of criticism. I always remember whenever I’m taking heat that they are taking it for free,” Underwood said. “We have excellent school board members, pillars of the community, and we appreciate their service.”
SISD approved its 2015-16 calendar with no major changes from 2014-15.
Mindy Wooley, executive director of the Stephenville Education Foundation, reported that the foundation’s fundraisers – including its annual No Show Dinner, Color Chaos 5K and Homecoming Classic Golf Tournament – are all scheduled again for 2015.
Assistant Superintendent Debbie Hummel expressed concern over attendance, which like enrollment, is lower than expected through the first semester. She said the biggest dip was in the third six-week period, and that in recent years the biggest decline came in the fourth six weeks.
Campus principals briefly addressed trustees concerning their progress toward and ongoing plans regarding strategic goals, with all seeming to meet the board’s approval.
The board has a called meeting at 4 p.m. Friday in the administration building’s “large meeting room.” The brief agenda features an executive session with one related action item – for hiring – followed by a strategic planning workshop.
The next regular meeting of the board is February 17.