The Brenham School Board opted to remain with the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) after a 5-2 vote on Monday.
Trustees listened to a presentation from a TASB representative and then debated amongst themselves before choosing to not join the TASB-alternative group, Texans for Excellence in Education (TEE), and keep their current membership with TASB. Trustees Kyle Hafner and Archer Archer voted in favor of joining TEE.
The vote came after a lengthy public comment period in which 15 people spoke, a large majority of them presenting the same requests: drop TASB, hire TEE and bring in a local superintendent.
TASB Executive Director Dan Troxell discussed the organization’s representation process and how each region across the state has board members who represent their area’s schools and carry equal weight during the annual membership meeting/delegate assembly. He also mentioned that over 80 percent of TASB school districts have an average daily attendance that matches or is less than Brenham ISD.
Membership for TASB runs around $10,000, with services such as risk management, policy services and legal services. Add-ons include BoardBook, the software that deals with board meeting preparation and organization, and the BuyBoard purchasing cooperative.
After Troxell’s presentation, the board compared TASB with TEE, who reported to the board last month. Hafner reminded the board that Carroll ISD in Southlake voted earlier this year to not renew its membership with TASB and – citing info given by TEE last month – is one of four school districts that plan to join the new organization.
Both Hafner and Archer were in favor of selecting TEE, pointing to their cheaper services and stating that there is no reason to not give them a try since Brenham ISD’s first year under the new program would be free. Archer felt the board did not have “anything to lose entertaining TEE.”
Hafner conceded that this matter is personal for him in that he does not like TASB, and that he feels the organization does not “have our best interests in mind.”
However, other trustees were concerned about TEE’s lack of a track record. Board President Natalie Lange said it would not be prudent to go with an unproven entity. Trustee Tommie Sullivan said he did not have enough information to feel safe about doing this, while Trustee Jared Krenek said TEE’s website does not give much in the way of information, adding, “There’s nothing for us to say, ‘let’s try it,’ because there’s nothing there.” Trustee Kelvin Raven said one of these groups is established and the other one is not, and that going with TEE versus TASB would be like going to court for a criminal case and picking an attorney who has never had any clients.
Also on Monday, the board:
- Received an update on recently released STAAR/EOC results.
- Approved an update to the district’s library policies and procedures manual. Brenham ISD Lead Librarian Charlotte Polk said the additions made were for transparency but were otherwise minor. Polk then gave an update about the district’s library operations and what it does to ensure its catalog of books are age-appropriate.