San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

November 18th, 2009
Former Kyle councilman Webster wants school board seat

by JEN BIUNDO

Former Kyle Councilmember Todd Webster, now the Chief of Staff at the Texas Education Agency, has filed a letter of intent seeking appointment to the Hays school board seat being vacated by Trustee Joe Muñoz.

From 2002 to 2007, Webster served as Governor Rick Perry’s Advisor for Public Education and since then has consulted on a national level for groups such as the Bill and Linda Gates Foundation. Earlier this month he was appointed TEA chief of staff, the second in command position of the statewide agency that oversees education issues.

“I’m hoping I could be of value to Hays,” Webster said. “I have some background that could be useful.”

At the same time, Webster said the experience at the ground level of a local school board could also give him perspective in his state role.

“When you’re up there at the state level you don’t always get to experience the impact of the policy making,” Webster said, adding he would recuse himself from any discussion involving Hays CISD.

Former District 2 Trustee Muñoz announced his resignation after he moved to a home outside the district. The resignation came amidst controversy over repairs the school district made to a home it was leasing to him.

Webster, an attorney, lives in the Steeplechase subdivision, and his three children attend Lehman High School, Chapa Middle School and Fuentes Elementary School.

The District 2 trustee seat covers similar territory to the Kyle City Council District Webster represented from 2003 – 2006. Campaigning as a reformer, Webster, then 33, burst into the council seat at a time when Kyle was gripped by a contentious recall election, deeply divided leadership and the fallout from mismanaged growth, including the establishment of a building moratorium in response to the city nearly over-permitting its available water.

His potential role on the Hays school board would hopefully be less politicized, Webster said.

“My sense of it is you’ve got some pretty good people on the board,” Webster said.

The deadline to submit a letter of interest in the seat is Friday, Nov. 20. No other candidates have formally applied to the seat, said Hays spokesperson Julie Jerome. The board will interview candidates and make a selection on Dec. 7, with the new trustee sworn in at the Dec. 14 meeting. The appointee will serve for about five months, until a specially called election in May.

If appointed, Webster said he would likely seek reelection in the spring.

Jen Biundo is managing editor of the Hays Free Press where this story was originally published.

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