The De Soto school board will begin the process of choosing someone to fill out the remainder of Scott Hancock’s term, now that voters have decided he should be recalled.
Hancock’s seat became open after the canvas this week of votes in the Aug. 18 recall. Official totals showed 2,056 votes, or 89 percent, for ending Hancock’s tenure before it would have expired in 2017.
Hancock drew public fire from district parents concerned about the resignations of Superintendent Doug Sumner and 31 other administrators. Those who called for his ouster blamed Hancock’s treatment of staff and administrators, saying he was dismissive and demeaned women by calling them “missy” or “little girl.”
He had also questioned the bidding procedure for technology equipment for the district in 2013. Officials determined later that the equipment was not competitively bid, and Sumner apologized.
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Hancock’s alleged demeanor toward women violated federal sexual harassment laws, according to those to petitioned for the recall. However, those charges did not have to be proved for the recall election to be set. The former board member always has denied the allegations.
“I thank my supporters for seeing through the sensationalism and fraudulent claims,” Hancock said in a written statement. “I am proud of my service to the district and I hope that my successor and future board members will follow the same path of fiscal responsibility. Patrons and board members must ask the difficult financial questions and bring financial accountability to the De Soto School District in order to maintain high teaching standards.”
The recall is the first in the history of the district, spokesman Alvie Cater said. But the board does have recent experience filling a vacancy. In 2010, when former member Janine Gracy moved to Colorado, the board had applicants fill out a questionnaire and be interviewed during a public board meeting. Cater said the process will likely be similar this time.
The first opportunity for the board to begin deciding its appointment process will be the Sept. 14 regular meeting, he said. That would make it possible to fill the vacancy as early as October.
The De Soto school board is made up of seven members — two each from three zones and one at-large. Hancock was in position 4, representing the southwestern part of the district.
The only requirement to apply for the board member position will be that the applicant has to live in that same zone.