Aubrey appoints school trustee

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AUBREY — A new Aubrey school board member is scheduled to be sworn in Monday.

In a 6-0 vote Thursday, the school board appointed Annette Crooks to the Place 2 seat on the board. She will fill a seat that’s remained vacant since Mike Sessions resigned in June with two years remaining in his term.

Board President Ron Bullock said Crooks’ experience serving on other boards and her willingness, time and interest to serve factored into her being appointed to the school board.

“Everyone knew her and had a high opinion of her,” he said. “It was a good fit for all.”

Bullock said Crooks will be sworn in by Pat Housden, the superintendent’s secretary, on Monday.

The appointment will be through May, when the seat will be put on the ballot for voters to elect someone for the remaining year in the term, Bullock said.

Crooks, who was not present at Thursday’s meeting, has lived in Aubrey nine years, owns a local horse farm with her husband and said she has an equine-assisted therapy business. Two of her children graduated from Aubrey High School.

She’s served on various equine boards and committees.

Contacted by phone Thursday, she said she looked forward to understanding the particular issues faced by the district and making a contribution.

“I’m very honored to have been selected,” Crooks said. “I hope to make contributions to the school board and the community.”

Over a couple of months, school board members considered two options for filling the vacant seat.

According to board policy, trustees could either call a special election to fill the position or appoint someone to the vacant seat until the next school board election.

Policy also states that if more than a year remains in the term, the board is required to fill the vacancy within 180 days after the vacancy occurs.

Bullock said it is the choice of the board and administrators to have voters elect individuals to the school board.

In this instance, he said, the board felt it wasn’t in the best fiscal interest to call a special election followed by a general school board election in May.

To hold a special election would have resulted in a $10,000 expense, which would have taken away from teachers and students, Bullock said.

“When you look at the cost of having an election and then turning around and staring in the face of another election coming up in May, we didn’t feel like that was a good expenditure of the district funds,” he said.

Also at Thursday’s meeting, board members learned general fund reserves for the 2012-13 year grew by more than $686,000.

The district ended the fiscal year on Aug. 31 with more than $7.6 million in general fund reserves.

According to a report prepared by Greenville-based firm Rutherford, Taylor and Company PC, the increase in reserves resulted from some expenses coming in under budget as well as student enrollment and attendance being higher than anticipated.

The audit also showed a decrease of more than $16,000 in reserves to the debt service fund and that nearly $6,000 was added to child nutrition reserves.

No areas of noncompliance were indicated in the audit.

“Our school is in a good financial state, and it pleases me that we have the money to educate the students in a manner that they need to be,” said Interim Superintendent Debby Sanders.

Bullock said he “couldn’t be more pleased” with the audit. He credited the district’s administrative staff with the favorable report.

“As usual, we just continue our good track of financial responsibility,” he said.

BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter at @BritneyTabor.


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