HCDE elects Cantu as VP

HARRIS COUNTY – The Harris County Department of Education held their annual election of officers of the board last week, and East Aldine’s deputy executive director Richard Cantu was elected as first vice-president. As a board member and officer, Cantu has championed education matters for the underserved of the district and the county. He also serves on the board of the Aldine Education Foundation, and several advisory boards for HCC and LSC.

Position 6, Precinct 1 trustee Danyahel (Danny) Norris, an intellectual property attorney, was unanimously elected president.

Norris, who began his term in January 2019, is a principal partner of Norris & Norris LLP and is a past president of the Houston Lawyer’s Association. A native Chicagoan, Norris holds a chemical engineering degree from the University of Houston and a law degree from Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law.

Other new officers for 2021-2022 are Richard Cantu, first vice president; and Andrea Duhon, second vice president.

Cantu is the deputy executive director of the East Aldine Management District and has held various nonprofit and municipal leadership positions. Duhon is a territory manager and marketing strategist for Plant Sight 3D.

Superintendent James Colbert Jr. thanked 2020- 2021 Board President Eric Dick for his leadership.

“All the staff has talked about how the spirit, culture, and climate has changed on this board,” Colbert said during the meeting. “Certainly, that’s a byproduct of a lot of the new board members that we have, but it’s also a byproduct of your leadership.”

At the Wednesday meeting, the board also approved a resolution to increase the over 65 exemption for the tax year 2021 from $160,000 to $229,000. This means that all individuals aged 65 or older will have their property taxes frozen for the 2021 tax year if their property is valued at $229,000 or less.

Approval of this item aligns HCDE’s over 65 exemption with Harris County, which increased its exemption last year. The move will save taxpayers $3.45 per year on property taxes. Under the change, HCDE would see a loss of approximately $270,000 in property tax revenues.

The increased exemption is on top of the optional homestead exemption Harris County already offers to all homeowners of $5,000 or 20%, whichever is greater.