District 2 runoff candidates 2017

With less than 300 votes separating incumbent Dustin Marshall and challenger Lori Kirkpatrick in the May election for Dallas ISD District 2 trustee, voters will make their way to the polls again for a runoff election — beginning with early voting, which starts today.

Just kidding. A handful of voters will make their way to the polls and the rest will comment on a story I write about something happening in Dallas ISD about six months from now and will kvell about how we need better leadership for school board.

And if you knew how much it costs to have an election, you’d probably realize you need to get to the polls. We’re frittering away money. Here’s a breakdown I found of a 2015 election bill Dallas County gave the city. Spend some time poking around and realize we’re paying for this twice every time we have a general election AND a runoff election.

I’ve been doing this a long time.

Less than 8 percent of registered voters voted on May 6 in Dallas County. In some precincts of District 2, nobody voted. In others, less than 10. In yet others, less than five.  And right now, during early voting, it’s the easiest thing in the world you can do. (more…)

Photo courtesy Erin Johnston

Early this week, a hot and heavy discussion broke out on a Lakewood-centric Facebook page regarding the Dallas ISD district 2 runoff between Dustin Marshall and Mita Havlick. At the time, third place finisher (by only 50 votes) Suzanne Smith indicated that she preferred to stay  publicly neutral.

That has apparently changed. This afternoon I received a call from the Marshall campaign to let me know that Smith had decided to publicly endorse Marshall after all.

An early indicator that the two were ideologically closely aligned was the fact that Marshall (post-election) adopted Smith’s action plan for the district that she rolled out during her campaign. He began including it in campaign materials shortly after he began tweeting it and using it in Facebook posts on his campaign site.

The two released a joint statement, which follows:

In a joint statement, Suzanne Smith announced today that she cast her ballot in the runoff election for Dustin Marshall. She fully endorsed Marshall’s candidacy and encouraged all of her supporters to get behind him as well.

Smith’s endorsement follows several public statements by Marshall indicating their shared belief in early childhood education, improved parental engagement, and a focus on social and emotional health. Several of these tenants were captured by Smith in her campaign “Action Plan” which Marshall has since used in his campaign material.

Smith stated, “Dustin has run a positive campaign focused on issues that matter to all of us. He has even wholeheartedly supported my Action Plan. This approach best mirrors my own and will ensure that we improve our schools for ALL children in District 2. While Mita has done a lot for her own neighborhood, her campaign has alienated many voters…her negative messaging is moving us in the wrong direction. We have to make sure the RIGHT person gets this job and leads us in the right direction. That person is my friend, Dustin Marshall.”

“I am humbled and honored to have Suzanne’s support,” stated Marshall. “Suzanne has been a great advocate for the kids of our city, and I appreciate her endorsement in this important runoff election. We share a common philosophy about how to improve educational outcomes for our kids. We both believe in recruiting, hiring, developing, measuring, and rewarding great teachers. I hope that Suzanne’s supporters will come out to the polls to show their support for this shared vision.”

Early voting continues through Tuesday, June 14. Election Day is Saturday, June 18. To access more about the district 2 race, click here.

hillcrest

As predicted yesterday, the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees voted 7-0 to place a $1.6 billion bond program on the November ballot today. Trustees Joyce Foreman and Bernadette Nutall, citing scheduling problems, were not in attendance for the vote.

Over the next few months, we will begin looking at each component of the bond program, including which schools will be affected, how the money will be spent, and the conditions of the schools that have been selected to benefit from upgrades or replacement.

“This is the public’s vote, and the public’s schools,” board president Eric Cowan said during today’s meeting. “It’s not just nine Trustees deciding we want to spend $1.6 billion. We’re asking the public.”

In the meantime, let me leave you with this: If you thought the turnout was low for a school board and city council election for Dallas public schools, just wait for this bond election. If you feel strongly either way, it’s time to make sure you’re registered to vote and make the long, arduous trek uphill both ways in the snow to your polling place on November 3.

 

 

Photo Courtesy DISD

Last March, the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees unanimously approved the bridge fund – a stop-gap measure aimed at taking funds out of the very healthy district surplus to address immediate needs on several campuses. During the debate, more than a couple of trustees said their vote came with a healthy amount of trust – trust that voters would remember their schools when the time came for a bond election.

Well, that time just may be coming. Dallas public schools have upwards of $1.8 billion in needed repairs, upgrades and deferred maintenance that must be addressed. Over the next few weeks, we will take a look at a detailed report of the district’s needs offered in this 2013 report by Parsons Environment & Infrastructure Group Inc.  In the meantime, the district is also conducting a series of town hall meetings to allow voters to educate themselves about the possible bond program, as well as what exactly it will address. You can also poke around on this site to see the various reports the Future Facilities Task Force has made to the board.

The next meeting will be Wednesday, August 19, at 6 p.m. at the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce, 10707 Preston Road, Dallas. Trustees Edwin Flores and Mike Morath will be on hand to answer questions and explain the potential program.