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 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.”
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.