GALVESTON — The Galveston Independent School District will begin the new year in search of a new trustee.

The GISD board of trustees officially accepted the resignation of District 7-G trustee Sandra Simmons. Simmons was not at Wednesday night’s meeting. She sent the board a letter of resignation Dec. 6 and moved to the Dallas area soon after to deal with family matters.

Board rules require that trustees live in the district that they represent.

“I had the pleasure of serving with Sandra Simmons these last eight-plus years, and I know it was with reluctance that she resigned,” said board member David O’Neal. “She was very thorough and very dedicated to the children of this district.”

“The word ‘passionate’ comes to mind,” said Matthew Hay, the president of the board of trustees, before officially accepting her resignation.

Simmons had served on the board since November 2004. She was elected to a third consecutive three-year term in 2010.

The board will now have to find a replacement for Simmons to complete the remaining year of her term, which ends in November 2013. Hay said the board consulted with the Texas Association of School Boards to review the best process for choosing a replacement.

The position will be open to interested people from District 7-G, a district that encapsulates the east end of Galveston Island and a portion of Bolivar Peninsula. 

Applications will be available in the GISD administration office until Friday afternoon, when the offices close for the Christmas holiday. They will be available again when schools reopen Jan. 7. All applications are due before 4:30 p.m. Jan. 14.

Applicants must provide a letter of intent and a résumé when turning in the application.

The position will be advertised, and the board will conduct interviews at a workshop meeting on Jan. 16, before choosing the new board member on at its next board meeting on Jan. 23

The board approved a budget amendment to spend $250,00 to refurbish and repair the district’s fleet of more than 60 school buses.

The district is still using buses that came from Houston after the island’s fleet was wiped out during Hurricane Ike. Some of replacements are 25 years old and are in need of upkeep.

The buses will be refurbished, upgraded for safety and have air conditioning installed.

O’Neal said a single new bus would cost $191,000, making repairs the obvious choice at this time

“We don’t have the money actually purchases all new buses at this time, but we can refurbish theses buses to where they are more than adequate,” he said. “This a more than frugal move that we’ve made.”

As previously scheduled, schools will be released early on Friday for the beginning of the winter break.

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