Dallon James sworn onto PNGISD board; Jake Lefort begins 2nd term

Published 12:18 am Wednesday, December 16, 2020

PORT NECHES — More than a month after winning his election, Dallon James took his seat on the Port Neches-Groves Independent School District Board of Trustees.

Two days after turning 37, James was sworn in before Monday’s board meeting at Port Neches-Groves High School along with Jake Lefort, who will begin a second three-year term after running unopposed in the November general election.

Jefferson County Precinct 7 Justice of the Peace Brad Burnett performed the oath of office for both men to begin their terms.

“It means everything, being able to support this community the way it supported me in the past,” said James, a 2002 PNG High School graduate and general manager for a subsidiary of Newtron. “I was raised here and love this community and the teachers that we have and the administrators. I’m glad we can give something back to them.”

James won the Place 6 seat in the Nov. 3 plurality election over incumbent Rusty Brittain and Danny Viator. James ran on the platform of making sure the voices of teachers, parents, students and the community were “the loudest” on the PNGISD board.

Justice Brad Burnett swears in Jake Lefort to a second term on the PNGISD board. (I.C. Murrell/The News) 12-14-20

Lefort, the Place 7 member of the board, said he’s happy to be “part of a great district.”

“I enjoy the guys I work with and the administration we have,” Lefort said. “This is just a pleasure to help out,” Lefort said.

Like James, Lefort said he’s prioritizing the district’s $130 million bond from November 2019, which includes the construction of four new elementary schools.

“I think overseeing the bond issue is an important part and something we didn’t have in my first three years, but we’re really going to see schools being built over the next two years,” Lefort said. “That’s going to be exciting.”

The board also re-elected Dr. Scott Bartlett as its president and Brandon Cropper as vice-president for another one-year term by unanimous votes. Dustin Marsh was elected secretary unanimously after being nominated by incumbent Eric Sullivan.

In other PNGISD business:

  • The district awarded Gentile Construction a $75,000 contract for a new metal building to be located at the old Armory site. Additional storage is needed at the site due to the demolition of West Groves Early Learning Center.
  • Approval of a vendor to improve softball and baseball backstops damaged by Hurricane Delta on Oct. 9 was tabled until the next meeting. The district said it did not receive sealed bids before the 2 p.m. Dec. 10 deadline.

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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