A trustee position that has been vacant since September at the Tornillo Independent School District is causing concern among some community members.
A viewer asked ABC-7 to look into school board seat vacancies and state-mandated deadlines to see if TISD was in compliance.
ABC-7 found the corresponding section in the Texas Education Code, which states, "If more than one year remains in the term of the position vacated, the vacancy shall be filled under this section not later than the 180th day after the date the vacancy occurs."
TISD's school board currently has six members. The seventh member, former Board President Joe Tittle, left the district in September.
ABC-7 looked up election records and found Tittle was up for re-election in November 2012, which means he did have more than one year left in his term at the time he tendered his resignation.
Since more than 200 days have passed since the date Tittle resigned, ABC-7 wanted to ask district leaders why a replacement has not been named nor a special election been called.
The Texas Education Agency said concerned citizens can make a complaint to the Secretary of State or the Texas Attorney General asking for enforcement of the school board vacancy deadline.
Superintendent Paul Vranish, Board President Rachel Avila and trustees Bertha Brew and Pat Guerra all refused to be interviewed.
TISD parents and community members told ABC-7 the board has been divided and deadlocked since Tittle left and that things only got worse after the superintendent was accused of mishandling district funds.
Vranish is facing two seperate investigations amid allegations that he misused taxpayer dollars for personal gain. He has denied those allegations and has not been charged with any crime. Vranish has handed in his resignation and said his last day with the district will be next June.
Community members told ABC-7 the board is divided into three trustees that completely support Vranish -- Avila, Brew and Guerra -- and three other trustees who would like an agenda item considered to place Vranish on administrative leave pending the investigation results -- Javier Escalante, Ofelia Bosquez, and Hector Lopez.
During Friday's board meeting, no action was taken to appoint a replacement for Tittle. Bosquez had initiated a motion to consider a candidate named Marlene Bullard, a Tornillo resident who submitted a letter of intent for the job last October.
"I had heard there were problems with nothing getting passed because it was a 3 to 3 vote and decided I would put in a letter of intent as an unbiased party because I do have an interest in the community since I have chosen to live here," said Bullard.
The board's inaction, Bullard said, is not healthy for the district. "Very little has gotten done," she said.
According to Lopez, trustees on the other side have also nominated candidates for the position, but those candidates have also gotten shut down in a split vote.
Lopez told ABC-7 that he, Bosquez and Escalante have asked the rest of the board to call for a special election so that a tie-breaking trustee can be appointed to the board once and for all. He said nothing ever came of that request.