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…)

VOTE ART1

Before we start on District 2, let’s get this out of the way first: Are you going to vote for school board and city council elections? Did you know that right now you can vote pretty much anywhere in the county, making it super convenient to vote on say, during your lunch break?

I bring this up because every May it seems like I have to guilt everyone into voting, and still — hardly anybody does. But boy howdy do people have an opinion about Dallas ISD and how it’s run — but somehow for some of you, those opinions aren’t motivating enough to head to the polls.

Does that say something about the strength of your arguments? I don’t know. But I do know it’s a crying shame that less than 10 percent of all voters make decisions for 100 percent of us. Maybe we should work on changing that this year?

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DISDd22016runoffToday Dallas Independent School District voters in District 2 will finally choose who will represent them as school board trustee. Will it be Mita Havlick, or will it be Dustin Marshall? Also up for runoff is the seat for Dallas County Community College District 4.

If you still haven’t decided, here is a rundown of our D2 and election coverage:

Polls will be open until 7 p.m. Consider taking a few minutes to go vote while you’re out doing your Saturday activities. We’ll be back here later tonight to discuss the returns.

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.

DISDd22016runoffSo we’re still working on getting District 2 representation on the Dallas Independent School District Board of Trustees because basically nobody voted in the election. Less than five percent voted in the election in May, forcing a runoff between Dustin Marshall and Mita Havlick.

Remember this map? This is the map that showed how poorly people showed at the polls. Less than 50 votes separated Havlick from Suzanne Smith in the May election. Less than 50 votes may very well decide this runoff, too, which is asinine.

Early voting starts today and lasts until June 14. Election Day is June 18. For information – including polling places – on early voting, click here. For information on voting on Election day, click here.

Now, in the meantime, I thought I would provide a brief primer on the two candidates. A previous rundown is here, but I reached out to both candidates last week with a quick second set of questions to augment the information found in the rundowns and in other responses from Dallas Kids First (Marshall, Havlick) and the Dallas Morning News, as well as responses at Turn and Talks (Marshall/Marshall podcast, Havlick/Havlick podcast).

My questions and each candidate’s answers follow. None of the responses have been edited. (more…)

Photo courtesy Flickr/Theresa Thompson

Photo courtesy Flickr/Theresa Thompson

Just five years ago, the Dallas Independent School District had to cancel elections for lack of interest. This year, a bumper crop of 12 candidates have chosen to run for four seats – and only one of those 12 is an incumbent.

People are taking Dallas ISD seriously these days. It’s an exciting time to be involved in making policy that will guide the district and a time that will require the board to really roll up their sleeves and get to work.

I’d love to tell you that every single race is being broached with, as my 5-year-old says, “kind words and kind hands.” But with stakes high and emotions higher, some of the races have gotten a little muddy, which is a shame. Hopefully, all involved can slough off the mud and put their dirt away in this home stretch, and reconfirm their resolve to do what is right for the kids, sticking to the issues.

Still, the passion I’ve seen for these unpaid positions is encouraging. It would be great if all that passion can be the start of some incredible community involvement in Dallas schools, regardless of who wins.

As I did in the last school board election, I will be breaking down each race and assigning a mathematical value to key endorsements for a final score. Because of the volume of candidates, I’ll be featuring one race a day through Sunday. Early voting begins Monday and lasts until May 3, with Election Day on May 7. For information on early voting, click here.

Today we will take a look at District 2, which is basically a misshapen doughnut that includes the Lakewood area, Preston Hollow, and the North Dallas High School feeder pattern (the hole would be the Park Cities).

Dustin Marshall, Suzanne Smith, Mita Havlick and Carlos Marroquin are vying for the seat left open after Mike Morath was tapped by Gov. Greg Abbott to become the new Texas Education Agency commissioner.

So first let me explain my methodology for coming up with this scoring system. Experience, I think, should be given some weight. So it is assigned a number value of one. Endorsements should matter too, so those are also given a value of 1. While it may not seem fair that incumbents have a head start, as you will see when I break down each district, if an incumbent is facing a favored challenger it doesn’t make a huge difference.

I considered six sets of endorsements in this system, largely because the organizations providing them have a regular history of endorsing candidates. Those endorsements are The Dallas Morning News, Dallas Kids First, Educate Dallas, the NEA, Alliance AFT, and The Real Estate Council PAC. In this race, Alliance AFT did not endorse a candidate and there is no incumbent, so there will be a possible score of 5 (DMN, DKF, Educate Dallas, NEA, TREC). (more…)