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New trustees & new officers at Fort Bend ISD next year

By Betsy Dolan 

Grayle James is the new  Fort Bend ISD School  Board president.

Grayle James is the new
Fort Bend ISD School
Board president.

As the 2013-14 school year comes to a close, the Fort Bend ISD board of trustees has some challenges on tap for next year, not the least of which is resolving the school boundary issue.  The board will have three newcomers and new leadership heading into the next school year.

In a special two-part meeting May 19, the three newly elected members–Jason Burdine, Position 1 serving the west side of the district;  Kristin Tassin, Position 4, at-large;  and KP George, Position 5 in the east side of the district–took the oath of office.  All three will serve three year terms.

The board also held its officer elections. Position 2 board member and former assistant secretary Grayle James was selected as board president for the 2014–15 school year, replacing Jim Rice, who was elected for his second term in 2013. Position 7 board member Dave Rosenthal replaced outgoing Susan Hohnbaum as the board’s vice president. Position 6 board member Jenny Bailey was selected as the board’s new secretary, replacing former trustee Bruce Albright.

Outgoing trustees

Outgoing board president Jim Rice thanked, Hohnbaum, Taylor, and Albright for their service.

“Serving on a school board is a hard job.  It takes a lot of time, a lot of commitment and a lot of thick skin”, Rice said.

Albright and Taylor were not reelected in May. Albright provided three years of service to the Board, two of which he served as Board Secretary. Taylor served on the Board for three years and served as Board Vice President most recently.

Hohnbaum is retiring from the Board after serving six years, during which time she served as President and Vice President. She also served the District as a teacher for 22 years and as an instruction technology specialist for five years.

“It is so amazing the change we have gone through in six years and I am excited about it”, Hohnbaum told the board.  “You are in a great spot.  We’ve worked hard this past year.  Keep it going–don’t go backward”.

School boundaries

The new board will spend the summer deciding how the school boundary issue will proceed. The board has requested to be more involved in the community engagement portion of the plan–something they did not feel occurred during the Facilities Master Plan process.

“We absolutely want community input again in the boundary study.  That’s going to be key to the success.  But the board must first adopt the policy that sets out the procedure and the parameters for the work”, said Charles Dupre, Fort Bend ISD Superintendent.

A future ‘Boundary Study’ is expected to begin in the fall of 2014 along with a district-wide feeder pattern study which will involve community input.

Work on the boundary plan comes after the approval of the $448 million Facilities Master Plan which was approved last month.  Jacobs Engineering and DeJong-Richter spent more than a year studying the district’s buildings, educational adequacy and projected growth.

The study recommends nine new elementary schools and two new middle schools in the next five to seven years.

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