I.H.1. Trustee Qualifications and Benefits
Trustees honor the responsibilities delegated to them by voters and receive reasonable support to perform their responsibilities.
(a) Mentally Incapacitated means finally adjudged by a probate court to be totally mentally incapacitated or partially mentally incapacitated without the right to vote.
(b) Residence means legal domicile—one’s home and fixed place of habitation to which one intends to return after any temporary absence.
Trustees must be U.S. citizens; be 18 years of age or older on their first day in office, whether by appointment or election; have resided continuously in Texas for 12 months; have resided in the territory from which the office is elected for six months; and reside in and be registered to vote in the trustee district in which they seek to serve. A Mentally Incapacitated person may not serve as Trustee. Trustees cannot be convicted felons unless they have been pardoned or otherwise released from resulting disabilities.
I.H.1.04. Pay, Expenses, and Benefits
Trustees serve without pay, but the Board may authorize Trustees to be reimbursed for actual expenses incurred while performing their duties, which include attending Board-approved conferences. Trustees only request reimbursement for reasonable expenses. Records of reimbursed Trustee expenses are public information. The College pays for coach fare for Trustees traveling by air on College business. The College also pays reasonable Trustee expenses for lodging, meals, and transportation when the Trustee is out of town on College business. The Board allocates funds for Trustee travel expense reimbursement every fiscal year.
The College reimburses Trustees after they submit detailed expense records to the Chancellor who then submits them to the College’s business office. The Board may designate a committee to review Trustee expense records. The College shall not reimburse travel or other expenses for a Trustee’s spouse or any other person traveling with the Trustee, except for group meals that constitute an official function. All registration fees, travel arrangements, and hotel reservations for such meetings will be made through the Office of the Chancellor as appropriate.
Trustees whose service began before August 31, 2003, may be eligible for health and life insurance benefits as permitted by law. For such Trustees, the Board may choose to have the College pay part or all of the contributions that the State of Texas would pay for similar coverage of other participants in the group benefits program.
I.H.1.05. Trustee Tuition Waivers
I.H.2. Trustee Elections and Appointments
Trustees are elected or appointed as provided by law. The College strives to comply with all applicable laws related to elections and appointments.
(a) Application means an application form to have a name printed on an election ballot.
(b) Candidate means an individual desiring to be elected Trustee by applicable voters.
(c) Close Relative means an individual related by blood (consanguinity) within the third degree, or by marriage (affinity) within the second degree.
(d) Election means the legal process under Texas law by which voters choose individuals to serve in elected office.
(e) Election Day means the date on which an Election occurs.
(f) Uniform Election Date means the first Saturday in May in an even-numbered year or the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, or a different date as determined by the Legislature.
I.H.2.03. Membership and Terms
The Board has nine Trustees elected from single-member districts who serve six-year terms with biennial elections. The terms of one-third of the Trustees, or as near to one-third as possible, expire each even-numbered year.
I.H.2.04. Filing Information
A Candidate may have his or her name printed on an election ballot for any position to be filled at each regular election by filing with the Board Secretary a completed Application accompanied by (1) a $200 filing fee; or (2) a petition signed by 200 registered voters residing within the College’s Service Area. An Application must be filed during business hours no later than the deadline contained in applicable law.
The Application shall include all statutorily required information, including a loyalty oath and a statement acknowledging awareness of Texas nepotism law as required by Sections 141.031 and 141.039, Election Code. The Application must also state the number of the position the Candidate seeks or the name of the incumbent board Trustee holding the position sought. The ballot shall list Candidates’ names for each position in an order chosen by lot by the Board. A Candidate cannot run for multiple positions on the Board at the same time.
I.H.2.05. Notice to Candidates
The College employs a Board Liaison. The Board appoints the Board Liaison as the appropriate official with whom to file an Application. No later than 30 days before the first day on which a candidate can file an application for a place on the ballot, the Board Liaison will post notice of the filing period dates in a public place of the Woodlands Leadership Building at 5000 Research Forest Drive, The Woodlands, Texas, 77381.
I.H.2.06. Write-In Voting and Write-In Candidates
A write-in vote may not be counted unless the written-in Candidate filed a declaration of write-in candidacy with the Board Liaison in the manner provided for write-in candidates in the general election for state or county officers. A write-in candidacy declaration must be filed no later than 74 days before the election date.
I.H.2.07. Election of Unopposed Candidate
The Board may declare each unopposed Candidate victorious through a Board Resolution if the authority responsible for having the official ballot prepared certifies to the Board in writing that a Candidate is unopposed. If the Board makes such a declaration, that election is not held. If the College is no longer holding an election, the Board’s Resolution cancelling the election must be posted on Election Day at each polling place that would have been used in the election. When a declaration is made under this section but the College holds a separate election on Election Day, ballots used at the separate election shall include the offices and names of the candidates declared elected. The offices and names of unopposed candidates shall be listed separately, after the measures or contested races in the separate election, under the heading “Unopposed Candidates Declared Elected.” These Candidates shall be grouped in the same relative order prescribed for the ballot generally. No votes are cast for or against these Candidates. A certificate of election shall be issued to each unopposed candidate in the same manner and at the same time as provided for a candidate elected at the election. The unopposed candidate must qualify for office in the same manner as provided for a candidate elected at the election.
A Candidate shall not take any action to influence a College employee or current Trustee regarding the appointment, reappointment, employment, confirmation, reemployment, change in status, compensation, or dismissal of a Candidate’s Close Relative.
I.H.2.09. Election Date
Trustees are elected in even-numbered years under the United States Federal Election schedule, traditionally on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
I.H.2.10. Deadline to Order Elections and to Provide Notice
Elections held on a Uniform Election Date shall be ordered no later than the 78th day before Election Day. Except as provided by law, all other Elections shall be ordered no later than the 62nd day before Election Day. Notice of the Election shall be posted not later than the 21st day before Election Day on the bulletin board used for posting notices of the meetings of the Board, where it must continuously remain through Election Day. Notice of the Election shall also be published at least once, not earlier than the 30th day or later than the tenth day before Election Day, in a newspaper published within the College’s boundaries, or in a newspaper of general circulation in a county where the College is located, if none is published within the College’s boundaries. No later than the 60th day before the Election, The Board shall also deliver notice of the Election to the county clerk of each county in which the College is located.
The notice shall state the nature and date of the Election, the location of each polling place, the numbers of the positions to be filled, the Candidates for each position, the hours the polls will be open, the location of each early voting place, the dates and hours for early voting, the dates and hours of any Saturday and Sunday early voting, and the early voting clerk’s official mailing address. The Board shall retain a copy of the published notice with the name of the newspaper and publication date. The Board Liaison shall make and deliver to the Board a record at the time of posting, stating the date and place of posting.
The Board shall retain a copy of all documents related to the Election for at least 22 months after Election Day.
I.H.2.11. Polling Places
The Board shall designate polling places for each Election and shall designate regular county polling places in county election precincts containing College territory for Elections on a Uniform Election Date. Each polling place shall be accessible to and usable by the elderly and persons with physical disabilities.
I.H.2.12. Voters with Disabilities
Each polling place must provide at least one voting station that complies with Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. § 794) as amended, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (42 U.S.C. §§ 12131 et. seq.) as amended, and the requirements for accessibility under 42 U.S.C. § 15481(a)(3) as amended. That voting station must provide a practical and effective means for voters with physical disabilities to cast a secret ballot.
I.H.2.13. Bilingual Materials
Bilingual Election materials shall be used in each Election precinct situated wholly or partly in a county in which five percent or more of the inhabitants are persons of Spanish origin or descent according to the most recent federal decennial census that may be officially recognized or acted upon by the state or political subdivisions. An election precinct may apply for an exemption from the requirement to provide election materials in Spanish if official census information or other information indicates that persons of Spanish origin or descent comprise less than five percent of the precinct’s inhabitants. If the director of the census determines that a political subdivision must provide election materials in a language other than English or Spanish, the College shall provide election materials in that language in the same manner in which the political subdivision would be required to provide materials in Spanish, to the extent practicable.
I.H.2.14. Voting Rights Act
The Board is subject to the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. If required by applicable law, the Board also submits any changes affecting elections to the U.S. Justice Department for pre-clearance. If such submission is required, the Board must implement such changes unless the Justice Department objects within 60 days after the Board submits the proposed changes.
I.H.2.15. Early Voting
The Board shall provide for early voting in Elections by personal appearance and by mail and shall designate early voting polling places as provided by law.
I.H.2.16. Canvass Returns
Except as provided below, the Board shall canvass Election returns at the time set by the presiding officer not earlier than the eighth day or later than the 11th day after Election Day.
For Elections held on the date of the general election for state and county officers, the time for the local canvass may be set not later than the 13th day after Election Day.
For Elections held on the May Uniform Election Date, the Board shall canvass the returns at the time set by the presiding officer not later than the 11th day after Election Day, and not earlier than the last of: (1) the 3rd day after Election Day; (2) the date on which the early voting ballot board has verified and counted all provisional ballots, if a provisional ballot has been cast in the Election; or (3) the date on which all timely received ballots cast from addresses outside the U.S. are counted, if a ballot to be voted by mail in the Election was provided to a person outside the United States. Two Trustees constitute a quorum for purposes of canvassing an election.
I.H.2.17. Majority Vote Required
A candidate receiving a majority of the votes cast for a Trustee position shall be declared elected. If no candidate receives a majority, then the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes shall run against each other for the position in a run-off election. The run-off election shall be held and conducted in compliance with state law.
I.H.2.18. Certificate of Election
After a canvass ends, the presiding officer shall prepare a certificate of election for each Candidate who is elected to an office for which the official result is determined by that authority’s canvass. A certificate of election must contain: (1) the Candidate’s name; (2) the office to which the Candidate is elected; (3) a statement of election to an unexpired term, if applicable; (4) the election date; (5) the signature of the officer preparing the certificate; and (6) any seal used by the officer preparing the certificate to authenticate documents that the officer executes or certifies.
The authority preparing a certificate of election shall promptly deliver it to the person for whom it is prepared, unless a recount petition is submitted. A recount petition shall delay the issuance of a certificate of election and qualification for the office involved in the recount pending completion of the recount. A candidate may not qualify for an office involved in a recount before completion of the recount. A candidate who has received a certificate of election and qualified for an office before the submission of a recount petition shall not be affected by the recount petition. A certificate of election may not be issued to a person who has been declared ineligible to be elected to the office. The presiding officer shall prepare a report of the precinct results as contained in the election register and timely submit the report to the Texas Secretary of State.
I.H.2.19. Statement of Officer and Oath of Office
New Trustees sign and file with the Secretary of State the required Statement of Officer. Before taking up the duties of a Trustee, a new Trustee takes the oath or affirmation of office and files it with the Board Chair. The oath may be administered and a certificate of the fact given by those persons authorized by law.
No later than the 90th day before the day of the first regular Trustee Election at which Trustees may officially recognize and act on the last preceding federal census, the Board shall redivide the College into the appropriate number of Trustee districts if census data indicates that the population of the most populous district exceeds the population of the least populous district by more than ten percent. Redivision shall be as prescribed by Section 130.0822(d)–(g), Education Code.
After each redistricting, all positions on the Board shall be filled unless the Board determines that Trustees shall be elected from the new Trustee districts as provided by Section 130.0826, Education Code. Trustees then elected shall draw lots for staggered terms as provided by Section 130.082, Education Code. The Board may provide for Trustees in office at the first election after the College is redistricted to serve for the remainder of their terms.
If the Board provides for Trustees in office to serve for the remainder of their terms, the Trustee districts established in the redistricting plan shall be filled as the Trustees’ staggered terms expire. When the Board adopts a redistricting plan, the Board shall determine from which new Trustee district the position of each Trustee in office will be filled as it becomes vacant. A Trustee shall not continue in office after a redistricting plan takes effect if the Trustee no longer resides in the district from which the Trustee was elected.
I.H.3. Trustee Vacancies and Removal from Office
Trustees who abuse or abandon their office may be removed from office. The Board may appoint qualified individuals to serve as Trustee whenever a vacancy occurs on the Board because of resignation, death, removal, or any other reason.
(a) Incompetency means gross ignorance of official duties; gross carelessness in the discharge of those duties; or unfitness or inability to promptly and properly discharge official duties because of a serious physical or mental defect that did not exist at the time of the Trustee’s election.
(b) Official Misconduct means a Trustee’s intentional, unlawful behavior relating to official duties. The term includes an intentional or corrupt failure, refusal, or neglect of a Trustee to perform a duty imposed on the Trustee by law. The term also includes conviction of a Trustee of an offense relating to making or authorizing separate, sequential, or component purchases to avoid relevant purchasing contract requirements.
I.H.3.03. Trustee Appointment
Whenever a vacancy occurs on the Board, the remaining Trustees appoint a qualified individual to fill it. The appointed Trustee serves for the unexpired term. Any appointed Trustee must have continuously resided in Texas for 12 months and must have resided in the district for at least six months before the day of the appointment.
I.H.3.04. Trustee Resignation
A Trustee’s or Trustee-elect’s resignation must be written and signed by the Trustee or Trustee-elect and must be delivered to the Board Chair or Board Secretary to be effective. The Board may not refuse to accept a resignation. If a Trustee or Trustee-elect submits a resignation, whether for immediate effect or for some future date, a vacancy occurs on the date the Board accepts the resignation or on the eighth day after the Board receives it, whichever is earlier.
A person elected to serve as a Trustee must reside in the district represented by the Trustee through the term of office. A Trustee who ceases to reside in his or her district vacates his or her office. The Board may require a Trustee to file an affidavit with the Board Chair affirming that the Trustee resides within his or her district.
I.H.3.06. Holdover Doctrine
Trustees continue to perform their duties until their successors are sworn in. Until the vacancy created by a Trustee’s resignation is filled by a successor, the Trustee continues to serve and have the duties and powers of office and continues to be subject to all laws and policies relevant to Trustees. A holdover Trustee may not vote on the appointment of his or her successor.
I.H.3.07. Trustee Removal
Trustees may be removed from the Board for several reasons, including Incompetency, Official Misconduct, intoxication on or off duty caused by drinking an alcoholic beverage (unless it was caused by drinking such beverage on the direction and prescription of a licensed physician), or any felony conviction or misdemeanor official misconduct conviction. A Trustee may be removed if absent from more than half of the regularly scheduled Board Meetings that the Trustee is eligible to attend during a calendar year, not counting absences for which the Trustee was excused by the Board.
Actions to remove Trustees must be brought before a District Court with jurisdiction, except that any court convicting a Trustee of a felony or official misconduct shall order immediate removal.
I.H.4. Trustee Development and Training
The Board encourages Trustees to engage in training and continuing education programs that focus on trusteeship and other areas of community college operations to help them effectively perform their official duties.
(a) THECB means the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, which provides leadership and coordination for Texas’s higher education system.
Trustee Orientation and Education
The Board and the Chancellor provide orientation for new Trustees within the calendar year of their election to help them to understand the Board’s function, policies, and procedures. This orientation may include the following: (a) selected materials on Trustee responsibilities; (b) material on Board Meetings; (c) invitations to meet with the Chancellor, college presidents, and other administrative personnel designated by the Chancellor to discuss services the administration performs for the Board; (d) access to Board policies, regulations, and other documents and information currently used by Trustees; (e) information on appropriate meetings and workshops; (f) a formal orientation on the Board’s legal and budgetary oversight responsibilities; and (g) other information and activities the Board or the Chancellor deems useful.
The Board encourages all Trustees to engage in continuous training and development. The Board allocates sufficient resources for Trustees to attend educational conferences.
I.H.4.04. Reimbursement of Development and Training Expenses
The Board pre-authorizes all official travel by Trustees and reimbursement of expenses associated with Trustee education programs and institutional representation. When lodging rates differ for single or double occupancy, Trustees are responsible for the difference if double occupancy is necessary. Trustees follow the Chancellor’s Procedures regarding requests for reimbursement of travel expenses and the use of College’s credit cards. Trustees are reimbursed for mileage at College-approved rates, except when commercial airfare costs less than the amount for mileage. In such instances, the reimbursement will be the airfare cost.
Trustees are generally limited to one national and one state or regional trusteeship meeting per fiscal year. The Board may make exceptions for specific purposes that it believes are in the College’s best interests. The Chancellor shall work with the Board to develop and implement a plan to address Trustees’ training needs.
I.H.4.06. THECB Trainings
The THECB provides mandatory training for new Trustees under Section 61.084, Education Code. Trustees use private funds for THECB registration fees and costs of travel, meals, and lodging. No public funds may be used except for grants and donated private funds available for that purpose.
I.H.4.07. Conventions, Workshops, Press Conferences, and Ceremonial Events
Trustees may attend a regional, state, or national convention, workshop, ceremonial event, or press conference. Even if a quorum is present, these gatherings are not “meetings” under the Open Meetings Act. The Board does not officially act at such events, and any Trustee discussions of public business are merely incidental to the event.
I.H.4.08. Open Government Training
Within 90 days of taking the oath of office, a Trustee shall complete a course of training on open meetings and open records provided by the Texas Attorney General or another approved source of training about the Board’s and Trustees’ responsibilities under Chapter 551, Government Code.
At a Board Meeting after attending a conference or workshop, a Trustee gives the Board a verbal report of sessions or meetings which he or she attended.
LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on December 1, 2016