Leander ISD board members will appoint someone to fill the Place 5 vacancy after former LISD trustee Jim MacKay's resignation.

Board President Trish Bode said the board will take time to consider possible appointment names. An item regarding the vacancy appointment will be on the Oct. 7 agenda as a possible action item. Specific names will be discussed in a closed session, but the appointment vote will be done publicly.

The appointee will serve until November 2022, when the next Leander ISD board member election takes place.

Since the deadline to call a November election passed by the time of MacKay’s resignation, the board had two options to fill the vacancy: appoint someone to fill the vacancy or call a special election in May, legal counsel Holly Wardell told the board. A special election could cost between $100,000 to $200,000, Wardell said.

The LISD board of trustees voted 4-2 on Sept. 30 to choose the appointment option with board members Aaron Johnson and Elexis Grimes in opposition. The board has 180 days to appoint an individual to fill the vacancy.

Johnson said he was in favor of calling a special election because the community is “deeply divided and polarized and emotional.”

“I think appointment is fraught with difficulty in terms of perceived bias by members of our community. I think that in this environment, the best option—not only for us as board members, but for our community—is to allow our community to settle the question of replacing a board member at the ballot box,” Johnson said.

The board has six board members, which could lead to a deadlock vote. Board trustee Gloria Gonzales-Dholakia said if the board gets stuck in a 3-3 vote, the school board would not be able to move forward.

“Elections are important. Elections do matter,” Gonzales-Dholakia said before the vote. "That’s why we’re here, and there will be an election if we decide to go forward this way in November [2022].”