The Waco Independent School District Board of Trustees will appoint new members through an application process rather than hold a special election to fill vacancies left by the resignations of two trustees Thursday.

Angela Tekell, newly voted board president by her fellow trustees Thursday, said appointing board members would allow a full, seven-member school board to hire a superintendent, instead of waiting to have a special election in November.

State law and board policy allow the remaining board members to either fill the vacancy by appointment until the next trustee election or to call a special election.

The trustees plan to start reviewing superintendent applications at a June 24 meeting, and the district is still accepting applications. The board hopes to have appointed the two new members by then, Tekell said.

The board plans to hold a special meeting June 3 to review letters from individuals interested in serving on the board. Trustees also have tentatively scheduled a meeting for June 5 to interview selected candidates. The board could make the appointments during its June 20 meeting.

Larry Perez, Waco ISD’s longest-serving Latino board member, announced his resignation Wednesday, two days after board president Pat Atkins announced he would resign.

The person who fills the at-large vacancy left by Atkins will to serve until May 2020, when a special election will be held for the final year of that position’s three-year term.

The individual who fills the District 3 vacancy left by Perez will serve until May 2020, when that term expires and voters will elect someone to a new three-year term representing that district.

Both Perez and Atkins have served on the board since 2002. Perez cited health concerns as his reason for resigning, while Atkins said he is resigning because he is moving outside the district’s boundaries.

The resignations come two months after the board and then-Superintendent A. Marcus Nelson came to an agreement for Nelson to resign after his misdemeanor marijuana possession arrest. The board took its first steps toward hiring a new superintendent last week, when it started accepting applications.

Individuals interested in being considered for an appointment to either the at-large seat representing the entire school district or to the position representing District 3 should submit a letter expressing their interest no later than May 31. Letters can be emailed to board@wacoisd.org or sent to the board’s attention at 501 Franklin Ave., Waco, TX, 76701.

To be eligible to be appointed, a person must be a U.S. citizen, be at least 18 years of age, have resided continuously in Texas for the past 12 months, and have been registered to vote for the past six months in the area that he or she will represent. Maps of Waco ISD and Trustee District 3 can be found at wacoisd.org/boardmaps.

Brooke Crum joined the Tribune-Herald as the education reporter in January 2019. She has worked for the Springfield News-Leader in Missouri, Abilene Reporter-News, Beaumont Enterprise and the Port Arthur News. Crum graduated from TCU in Fort Worth.

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