By Alice Jauregui
Candiates for the Waco ISD School Board election began filing Wednesday, Jan. 19., the first day of the filing period for two district trustee positions. Filing will open Jan. 28 for an at-large WISD Board position.
Three candidates filed on the first day. Jonathan Grant and Hope Balfa Mustakim filed to represent Trustee District 4, and Emily Iazzetti filed in Trustee District 5.
On May 7, voters will elect one person in each of those districts to serve a three-year term on the Waco ISD Board of Trustees. The deadline for candidates to file for a place on the ballot is 5 p.m. Feb. 18.
District 4 is currently represented by Angela Tekell, who announced last month that she did not plan to seek re-election. Tekell was first elected to the board in 2010.
Iazzetti was appointed to represent District 5 in August following the resignation of Allen Sykes.
In May, voters will also elect someone to serve the final year of the current term for the vacant at-large seat on the Waco ISD school board. The vacancy was created when Cary DuPuy resigned in November. The following month, the school board announced they would leave the position vacant until the May election. The filing period for the at-large position will open Jan. 28 and end at 5 p.m. March 7.
More information about becoming a candidate is available at wacoisd.org/elections. Applications for a place on the ballot can be filed with the superintendent’s office at the Waco ISD Administration Building (501 Franklin Ave., Waco).
The Waco ISD Board of Trustees recently adjusted boundaries of the single-member trustee districts to equalize the number of people in each district following the 2020 Census. A map of the single-member trustee districts along with a description of those changes can be found at wacoisd.org/redistricting.
Alice Jauregui is executive director of communication with Waco ISD.
The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email the ALW team — [email protected].
Anyone interested in being appointed to fill the vacancy is encouraged to submit a letter of interest.
By Josh Wucher
During the July 22 meeting of the Waco ISD Board of Trustees, Allen Sykes announced that he plans to resign as a school board member as soon as his replacement is sworn into office. Sykes represents Waco ISD Trustee District 5, which includes the neighborhoods between Richland Mall and the lake as well as some areas near Baylor University. He was first elected to the board in 1999 and is the longest serving of the district’s current board members.
In a letter to fellow board members, Sykes wrote that the timing of his resignation was “based on other commitments making it increasingly difficult to allocate sufficient effort to fulfill the requirements entrusted to me.” He also noted his gratitude to the voters who elected him to represent them and his hope that making the announcement now will allow others who wish to serve the community to consider this opportunity.
Reflecting on 22 years of service, Sykes noted that the district has changed in meaningful ways since he was first elected. Among the changes that he highlighted was the construction of University High and the improvement of other campuses made possible by voter approval of a $172.5 million bond package in 2008.
Sykes’ announcement comes as the board is considering asking voters for approval of a $376.1 million bond package. Earlier this year, a community advisory committee recommended that the board consider replacing Waco High, G.W. Carver Middle, Tennyson Middle and Kendrick Elementary with new schools built in the same location as the existing campuses. The board will decide whether to call a bond election for November at their next meeting on Aug. 12.
“The bond election being considered at this time will have major impact on the Waco community, and I am in complete support of the broad scope as determined by the tireless work of the Community Advisory Committee,” Sykes wrote. “Under Dr. [Susan] Kincannon’s leadership, the district is well positioned to dramatically improve student performance with facilities aligned to promote achievement through well planned and designed learning environments.”
Board President Angela Tekell announced that the board will discuss filling the vacancy created by Sykes’ resignation at their meeting on Aug. 12. Sykes’ current term ends in May 2022, and the board can appoint a replacement to serve through the end of the term, call a special election to fill the vacancy until that time, or leave the vacancy unfilled until May 2022 when voters will elect someone to a new three-year term representing District 5.
Anyone interested in being appointed to fill the vacancy is encouraged to submit a letter of interest describing their qualifications and why they want to serve on the board to the board president no later than Aug. 23. Letters can be delivered to the Waco ISD Administration Building, 501 Franklin Ave, Waco, TX 76701. They can also be emailed to [email protected].
To be eligible to fill the vacancy, an individual must be registered to vote, be a resident of the state of Texas for at least one year, and be a resident of District 5 for at least six months. A map of the trustee districts can be found online at wacoisd.org/trusteedistricts
“Allen has been a thoughtful voice for our students and employees for more than two decades,” Dr. Susan Kincannon, superintendent, said. “He has a remarkable legacy of service on this board and in our community. While Allen may be stepping down from the board later this year, I have no doubt that he will continue to make a difference in the lives of our students.”
A senior vice president at Extraco Banks, Sykes is a CPA by training. He also serves as the secretary of the McLennan County Appraisal District Board of Directors and a member of the Waco ISD Education Foundation Board of Directors. His wife, Jane, retired from Waco ISD earlier this year after 35 years as a teacher at Tennyson Middle and Parkdale Elementary. They have two adult sons, who are Waco High graduates.
Joshua Wucher is Waco ISD’s executive director for communications.
The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ferrell Foster at [email protected].