FORT WORTH -- School trustees voted Tuesday to accept the resignation of school board President Ray Dickerson, who announced unexpectedly last week that he was stepping down for health reasons.
Dickerson's term does not expire until 2013.
Trustee Ann Sutherland thanked Dickerson for his service, "especially since it cost a great deal on his health."
Trustees consulted with school district attorneys in executive session on options for replacing him.
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Board Vice President Juan Rangel said trustees will discuss and possibly vote on the matter at the next board meeting, in January.
"The finances and timing of having an election -- all that has to be looked at," Rangel said.
Various issues complicate the situation.
Fort Worth is the only school district in Texas where voters districtwide elect the board president.
Under the district's policy, the board can fill an unexpired term by naming a new president from among board members, appointing a president from outside or calling an election.
If a current board member is selected, someone must be appointed to fill that trustee's term or an election must be held for the post.
The district does not have an election scheduled in May. A districtwide election would cost more than a single-member election.
In other business, trustees had their first look at the budgets for the next two fiscal years.
Chief Financial Officer Hank Johnson said the district will need to cut $40 million. Trustees will have to discuss furloughs, salary cuts, increased staffing ratios and even some school closings to use district resources better, Johnson said.
Any consolidation of schools would likely have to wait until the 2013-14 school year, he said.
Johnson noted that a property tax increase could raise as much as $44 million for the district. But some trustees said such an election would likely fail right now.
Trustee Judy Needham said it would be unfair to ask a brand-new superintendent to take on the task of advocating a tax increase.
Trustees hope to hire a permanent superintendent to start by March 1. A tax election would have to be in June or November, Johnson said.
Eva-Marie Ayala, 817-390-7700