1/19/2011 5:53 PM
The State Board of Education has elected Bob Craig (R-Lubbock) as its vice-chairman by a 9-6 vote and Mary Helen Berlanga (D-Corpus Christi) as secretary by an 8-7 vote. The three board officers (the board chair -- currently Gail Lowe (R-Lampasas) is an appointee of the governor) jointly make the committee assignments.
Members of the board's socially conservative faction nominated Ken Mercer (R-San Antonio) for vice-chairman and Terri Leo (R-Spring) for secretary. The consequence of the vote is the board's socially conservative faction will not control the committee assignments. Unlike legislative committees, however, committees of the State Board of Education cannot unilaterally kill rules or agenda items. Final action from the board is determined by the final full board vote, though the committee's decision and rationale does often influence the final board decision.
The vote for the board's officers -- particularly secretary -- could become campaign fodder. Three Republicans voted for a Democratic secretary, and there is already discussion in Republican circles that that could become a campaign issue. (The board's socially conservative faction requested recorded votes on the board's officers.)