11 school board candidates vie for 5 seats in Huckabay

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By AMANDA KIMBLE
TheFlashToday.com

HUCKABAY (October 24, 2016) – For Huckabay ISD voters, the options are greater than they appear. Early voting in the November 8 election started Monday, with the names of five school board candidates on the ballot.

But, there are actually 11 candidates vying for five seats, and Huckabay ISD Superintendent Troy Roberts is reminding voters of their options. 

“Three of the seats are coming to term and two of them were appointed,” Roberts said of the school board openings. “Since this is the next election, those who were appointed have to be elected to keep their seats.”

Only two incumbents, Jeff Heath and Dr. Shane Gilliam, are seeking re-election. Heath’s name is on the ballot, but Roberts said Dr. Gilliam is a write-in candidate.

Roberts said write-in candidates submitted their applications for a place on the ballot a week after the deadline, so they were required to file a Declaration of Write-In Candidacy. Write-in candidates Bill Dowell, Casey Heath, Chris Hoffman, Julie Stewart and Rene Stewart are also seeking voter approval.

Meanwhile, Chad Hale, Jason Swatsel, Chrissy Dowell and Tricia Klein are on the ballot.

The seats of Greg Stewart, board president, and Shane Stegall are the only two not being considered in the current election cycle. They will up for election in 2018.

The candidates have lined up for a chance to serve in a district that’s in a period of transition. Roberts was hired in August following the resignation Cheryl Floyd, longtime superintendent, and months after a failed multi-million-dollar bond election.

The school district has welcomed a new principal and new teachers, according to Roberts, who made no comparison to the past and spoke off school district successes and optimistically about the future.

“There are a lot of great things going on here,” he said, crediting teachers and students.

Roberts said most recently, Huckabay earned six of seven stars from Texas Education Agency on its 2016 accountability rating, achieving a distinction designation in English language arts/reading, science, social studies, top 25 percent student progress, top 25 percent closing performance gap and post-secondary readiness.

The district also earned a bronze medal in the 2016 Best High Schools national performance rankings from U.S. News and World Report.

Roberts after speaking with the individually, it appears the candidates have at least one thing in common.

“They are all focused on making the school the best it can be,” he said, adding he is pleased with the level of interest.

Huckabay ISD currently has 207 students (and a candidate for every 19 of them), but Roberts said the district receives regular calls regarding potential transfer students.  The district is already home to a “good chunk” of transfer students, a number that increased by four in a single month.

When and where to vote

Early voting in the November 8 election begins continues through Friday, November 4. Election Day is Tuesday, November 8.

Ballots can be cast at the Erath County Courthouse between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. this coming through Friday, October 28; from 1 until 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 30; and 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday, October 31 through Friday, November 4. 

Ballots can also be cast 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., weekdays only, at the Dublin County Annex

Applications for a ballot by mail must be received no later than this Friday, October 28. To request a mail ballot, call Garla Allen at 254-965-1444 or mail the request to County Clerk 100 West Washington Street, Stephenville TX, 76401. Mail-in voters may also email vote@co.erath.tx.us to apply.

Registered voters who prefer to vote on Tuesday, November 8 can cast the ballots between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. at the Erath County Courthouse, Centurylink Telephone Office, Texas Bank and United Cooperative Services in Stephenville, as well as the Dublin County Annex, Lingleville School, Morgan Mill Community Center, Selden Community Center, Bluff Dale Fire Department and Huckabay School.

Whether they vote early or on Election day, voters are expected to present one of several forms of photo identification when voting in person, including a Texas driver license, election identification certificate, personal ID card, handgun license, military ID, U.S. citizenship certificate or passport.

But, voters who do not possess and cannot reasonably obtain a photo ID will be able to fill out a declaration of hardship at the polls and present supporting documentation, including a voter registration certificate, certified birth certificate, current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or another government document.

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