School Board Members Take Oath and Board Says No to Executive Session

From Left: Sharon Nowak administers the oath to Ashley Vann, Courtney Doyle, and Bill Lacy. Covering Katy photo

 

Updated with comments from Charles Griffin on the appointment of George Scott to be the school board’s TASB representative.

KATY (Covering Katy) –  The Katy Independent School District Board of Trustees approved the results of the May 6 election at a meeting Monday night. Following the approval of the vote Ashley Vann, Courtney Doyle and Bill Lacy took the oath of office. Vann and Doyle are incumbents and were re-elected. Lacy is serving his first term after defeating incumbent Henry Dibrell.

Many, but not all, board members took time to thank Dibrell for his service on the board.

“I think you have represented yourself and this district well in your time on this board, and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for you, because I know that God has great plans for you, and I just feel fortunate to call you my friend,” said Trustee Bryan Michalsky.

“You have a legacy to be proud of. I am grateful for you, for the trustee, for the advocate. I am grateful to be your friend, and I look forward to working with you in the future to make the world a better place. Thank you,” said Trustee Rebecca Fox.

Other trustees’ well wishes for Dibrell were less effusive than those of Fox and Michalsky. It was apparent that Fox and Michalsky supported Dibrell, but his campaign tactics, and tactics while on the board had left other board members hurt and dismayed.

The break in the board seemed to begin in February when a majority of board members became upset that Dibrell was working on a project with other school districts but he had not informed all board members about his work. (See story below)

Click to read our story: Four School Board Members Scold their President and Sgt. at Arms

Then there seemed to be a payback campaign for crossing Dibrell.  Shortly after Charles Griffin spoke out against Dibrell, he found untruthful allegations had been planted in the media about him.

Griffin was recently the victim of a dirty tricks campaign in which it was incorrectly claimed that he’d moved out of the district and should therefore be removed from the board. The story was shopped to the Houston Chronicle, which could not confirm it, but did make an effort to do so and published a story that some observers feel did more to keep the rumor alive than to squelch it completely.

Dibrell called Covering Katy and made the same untruthful claim.  We investigated Dibrell’s claims and put Griffin through a rigorous process to prove his residency. It was a process that Griffin relished taking part in and cooperated every step of the way. We even visited his out-of-town property in Sealy where Dibrell claimed Griffin was living. The only building with a roof on Griffin’s property at the time was an outhouse. Griffin was in the process of building a weekend home on the property. We determined Dibrell’s claims were false, and that Griffin is still a resident of Katy and eligible to serve on the board.

Click to read our story: Did Dibrell Want Attempted Fake News Smear of Griffin Amplified by Covering Katy?

Board Says No To Executive Session

Following the swearing-in ceremony, the board moved to nominations for its leadership team, and Griffin moved that the discussion happen in public instead of going behind closed doors in executive session. The board approved Griffin’s motion and quickly moved through its nomination process in full view of the public.

Griffin nominated Ashley Vann to serve as school board president and in the process vented his frustrations with how he believes Fox had performed as president over the past 12 months.

“I would like to see a president who understands board policies and procedures. I would like a rule follower. I would like somebody who holds the board accountable and everybody else accountable to the rules, who would have the courage to speak up if the rules were broken and have the honor and integrity to follow them themselves,” Griffin said. Fox did not respond.

In consecutive 7 to 0 votes the school board elected Ashley Vann, president; Courtney Doyle, vice president; and Charles Griffin, secretary. They will serve in those positions for the next 12 months. Board policy has changed and there is no longer a position of Sgt. at Arms. Dibrell formerly served in that role.

The Katy School Board also elected George Scott as its representative to the Texas Association of School Boards. It’s an interesting move given that Scott could be the biggest critic of TASB to ever sit on the Katy School Board. The vote was 7 to 0.

Katy ISD is purchasing the Brazos Valley School Credit Union building which sits next to the Education Support Complex.

“It is a great honor that members of the school board have trusted me to be their voice on the board of TASB. As the board’s representative to that organization, it is my duty to serve in a constructive way and to keep the school board and the administration fully aware of TASB matters that are of importance to Katy ISD,” Scott told Covering Katy.

“In my opinion, our TASB representative needs to represent Katy, our interest not an individual’s self interest,” Griffin said. “In selecting Mr Scott by a 7-0 vote, the board showed they have full confidence that we finally have a board member who represents us and will update the board regularly on both TASB and his activities. I look forward to his success in pushing our district’s agenda on a state level,” Griffin added.

One board member said he believed Scott would keep trustees aware of TASB activities and claimed that previous board members who have held that role have not done so in any meaningful way.

“My commitment is to always seek the guidance of the board as an entity and the administration and to always remember that the board expects its representative to advance the goals of the district and its patrons in an informed and professional manner. I appreciate the opportunity,” Scott said.

Scott will finish out the term of outgoing board member Henry Dibrell as TASB representative. There are two years left on the TASB representative term.

Board Approves Purchasing Neighboring Property

In other action, the school board, by a vote of 7 to 0, approved spending $2.4 million for the Brazos Valley Schools Credit Union building located next to the Katy ISD Administration Building. It is a 15,000-square-foot building that sits on 1.7 acres. The purchase of the building was approved for “district functions.”

“I can guarantee you we will put it to good use,” Superintendent Lance Hindt told the board.

The building is currently occupied by the credit union and the Katy Area Economic Development Council. Both entities will be leaving the property in the next 30 days.

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