Four College of the Mainland trustee candidates during a forum Tuesday asked voters for support in a May 6 election.

The Texas City-La Marque Chamber of Commerce hosted the forum for the college trustee and Texas City Independent School District candidates as they enter the home stretch of the election period.

Five trustee candidates for the College of the Mainland will battle it out for two spots on Election Day. The trustees will likely be making a decision about calling a bond election for the school.

Position 5

Position 5 is a three-way race this year, with incumbent Roney McCrary facing Melissa Skipworth, of Dickinson, and Sharon Mitchiner, of Dickinson. Position 5 is a six-year term.

McCrary, an independent software consultant, touted the college’s partnerships in the community and said he hopes to continue those in another term.

The college is “a diamond in the rough,” he said. “It’s in large part because of the partnerships that have been developed.”

Poor graduation rates need to be improved, however, and aging college facilities need to be updated, McCrary said.

“Aging facilities are something that we do need to address,” he said. “When the time is right we need to do something about it and do something for our students.”

Skipworth, a tax resource manager, voiced dissatisfaction with current board operations, especially with transparency and previous failures to pass a bond measure for the college.

“The lack of transparency has led to the erosion of public support for the college of the mainland,” she said. “This lack of support has been especially costly.”

The last board has not done enough to address poor enrollment at the college, she said.

“Over the last six years, the board has failed to make decisive, inclusive actions to move the college,” Skipworth said. “It’s time for a change.”

Mitchiner, a program assistant at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, is a former student at the college. As a trustee, she wants to keep the board more transparent, she said.

“It’s time for me to pay back to the college, to the community,” she said. “The board should be responsible to the community who are paying the bill.”

Position 7

Businessman Don Gartman is running against former instructor Arnetta Henderson for the at-large position, which is a six-year term.

Gartman, of Dickinson, is the former president and CEO of the Galveston County Economic Alliance.

Gartman acknowledged that he has little experience in education, but said his history in business could help the board with its financial issues.

“I’m not experienced in education at all,” he said. “I’ve been very active in the community.

“I bring to the college a business mentality, and hopefully we can solve some of the financial problems we have at the College of the Mainland.”

Henderson, of La Marque, was not present at the forum.

The election is May 6. Early voting runs from April 24-28 and May 1-2.

Samantha Ketterer: 409-683-5241; or on Twitter at @sam_kett


(3) comments

Walter Manuel

“Aging facilities are something that we do need to address,” he said. “When the time is right we need to do something about it and do something for our students.”

It's time that Mr. Roney Mc Crary find something else to do besides hold back the growth of TCISD. He's been on the board long enough to make a difference and yet he only is able to make excuses for why the board isn't moving the college in the right direction.

Mr. Mc Crary in oner sentence last night said that COM's nursing program is "one of the best" and then in the next sentence said that the program just got back their "accreditation status" which means that it was obviously not the best when their accreditation status was revoked in the first place.

Personally, I love Ms. Skipworth's message about COM's BOT being accountable to the taxpayers for which they work and be more transparent rather than running from the paper when they make such huge mistakes like not renewing the contract of Dr. Beth Lewis and then they don't offer the taxpayers a reason as to why.

Perhaps the current COM BOT needs to contact Dr. Beth Lewis and find out how she and others in Corpus managed to convince voters to vote for a bond election tht is now bringing them a brand new college?

Nothing will change with COM until EVERY current position has a new BOT sitting in their seats. [wink]

Walter Manuel


"It's time that Mr. Roney Mc Crary find something else to do besides hold back the growth of College of the Mainland".[cool]

PD Hyatt

This is starting to sound like the same lame excuses that the LMISD board used to give all of the time.... Long before we even vote for a bond issue we need a complete change out of the COM board.... With the way that they have thrown money away on lawsuits and paying Presidents to go away, I for one do not have a dimes worth of confindence in this board to spend the bond money the way that it should be! They would end up with millions going to lawsuits!!!!

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.