ABILENE, Texas - After months of discussion, Abilene ISD Trustees filled their vacant seat at Monday night's meeting.
Appointed to the Place 7 post was Kelvin J. Kelley. The seat has been open since Shane Davidson resigned in November after serving for only six months.
The choice was not easy or without some controversy. In the months leading up to the appointment, community members spoke out at meetings in favor of holding an election over the appointment process.
However, two things were unanimous: the board wanting to appoint and the choice of Kelley.
"It was a tough decision," AISD Trustee President Stan Lambert said. "It was very hard, but I think that once our community gets to know Dr. Kelley and this appointment process and serving as a board member, I think they'll be very pleased with the results."
Kelley may be an unknown to some, but he's no stranger to Abilene or education. He is an associate professor of theology at Hardin-Simmons University. He also holds four degrees.
"I'm gonna bring perspective," Kelley said. "I understand the academic experience. Many of the students that are in the AISD attend Hardin-Simmons University and so I see them at the 18 year old age and I see them in their freshman year."
His fellow trustees feel confident that Dr. Kelley's background fits Abilene ISD's unique needs.
Also Monday, the trustees discussed the effects of sequestration on some of their most vulnerable programs like Head Start. Currently, they believe cuts should stay around five percent – or about $800,000 – starting as soon as May. However, they are planning for the worst, which is closer to 10 percent or $1.6 million dollars.
If Congress comes to an agreement, these cuts could be retroactively returned to the school district.
The board also discussed the impact of a No Child Left Behind waiver. They are still waiting for approval. Once approved, the waiver will give the district more flexibility in accountability standards.