In a split vote, Humble ISD trustees voted down a measure to hold a public hearing on the possibility of transitioning the district’s board of trustees to include single-member districts.

The overview

During the board’s Jan. 9 meeting, trustees voted 4-3 against a motion to hold a public hearing to explore the option of transitioning the district’s board of trustees from seven at-large positions to five single-member districts and two at-large positions.

Board President Robert Scarfo along with trustees Chris Parker, Michael Grabowski and Ken Kirchhofer voted against the measure, while trustees Martina Lemond Dixon, Marques Holmes and Robert Sitton voted in favor.

While both Lemond Dixon and Sitton spoke in favor of holding the public hearing during the meeting, none of the four members who voted the measure down commented on why they voted against it.

A closer look

Lemond Dixon first requested the board take up the matter during the Dec. 12 board meeting. At the Jan. 9 meeting, Lemond Dixon said she proposed the possible transition to address rapid growth throughout the district.

“I am a big-picture thinker about how we move forward, and when I look at our school district and the growth and so much of the development since I've even been on board, ... I think it is worth a conversation to hear what people throughout the district think about this process,” Lemond Dixon said.

At the meeting, officials from demography firm Population and Survey Analysts provided updates on their most recent population statistics to board members. While the report is not yet public, PASA officials said the district’s population has grown by roughly 10,000 students since 2013 and sits around 48,600 students.

While Sitton supported the idea of holding a public hearing on the matter, he said he was unsure whether transitioning to a single-member system was the right move for the district.

“I do think with the growth that we've had and the diversity that we now have in our district, it's definitely something that we should at least consider,” Sitton said.

However, Sitton said he was concerned a transition to single-member districts could detract from an individual board member’s ability to serve the district as a whole.

“I truly believe that when we're elected, we're elected to represent everyone in the district,” Sitton said. “The problem comes into play when certain factions get involved, and not every trustee is in it for every student in the district. ... I don't know if we're headed there, [but] it makes me nervous.”

What's next

While the measure was ultimately voted down, trustees could request the item be taken up for reconsideration at a future board meeting.