The Dallas ISD board of trustees began the new school year by voting out the president they elected only three months before.
During the Aug. 25 meeting, the board voted 5-4 to elect District 3 trustee Dan Micciche its new president. He replaced District 5 trustee Lew Blackburn, who assumed the office in May.
The vote appeared to be retaliation for Blackburn’s opposition to a proposed 13-cent property tax hike that failed during a special meeting Aug. 18. If the measure had passed, voters would have decided in November whether to fund a number of new programs and teacher pay changes.
Micciche, Dustin Marshall, Jaime Resendez, Edwin Flores, and Miguel Solis all supported the measure, while Bernadette Nutall, Joyce Foreman, and Audrey Pinkerton opposed it. Blackburn initially expressed support, but ended up voting against it. Since calling for a voter referendum requires at least six votes, the measure didn’t pass.
Elections for school board officers only require a simple majority. The five trustees who voted Blackburn out were the same ones who opposed him on the the tax plan. The Texas Education Code requires the trustees to choose new officers after each election. Blackburn was elected president May 26 during the first board meeting after the May 7 school board elections. He replaced Eric Cowan, who chose not to serve another term on the board.
At the time, District 2 trustee Marshall was still involved in a tight runoff election. According to the letter of the law, trustees were then required to vote for officers again since there had technically been another election. Because the board didn’t meet in July, the vote was postponed to August.
Foreman attempted to head off new elections by filing a motion to re-elect the same set of offices without discussion. After legal counsel advised that this went against the district’s own rules, she amended her motion to suspend the rules on this occasion.
“The reason I made this motion is because this board has gone through some troubling times,” Foreman said. “What I don’t want to go back to is the kind of leadership that does not allow individual board members to participate. I want unity.”
Although Blackburn, Nutall, and Pinkerton supported Foreman’s motion, it failed 4-5, setting the stage for new nominations. District 8 trustee Flores was elected first vice president over Brown, who was also nominated.
Pinkerton was elected second vice president after Foreman declined her nomination.
District 4 trustee Resendez was then tabbed as the new secretary after Brown declined his nomination.
Micciche represents the far northeast section of DISD. He joined the board in 2012, and had been slated to serve as board secretary. As president, he will now have authority over meeting agendas, committee appointments, and other procedural responsibilities.
“While I’m happy to serve, this is not a position that I have sought since I’ve been on the board,” Micciche said during his brief remarks. “I will do my best to follow the rules, apply them fairly and consistently, and show respect for each board member and their points of view and positions.”