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.

Voters across the Dallas area will go to the polls on May 9 to elect mayor, city council members, and school district trustees. If you want your name to appear on a ballot, you should know that the filing period for candidates begins today. (Photo by iStock)

(Photo by iStock)

Just your friendly reminder that tomorrow is Election Day in the area for 53 different races, including four seats on the Dallas Independent School District school board and three seats on the Dallas County Community College District board.

I think I’ve been pretty clear about why it’s important to vote in school board elections. Something around 10 percent or less of the city votes in these elections, which means many of us are willing to let virtually anyone decide something as important as the trajectory of the workforce we will be able to offer employers in years to come. Even if you don’t have children in Dallas ISD, you have to be able to wrap your head around the fact that if we fail to adequately educate our children, we have failed to adequately educate our workforce, which means it becomes harder and harder to attract and retain jobs to the city.

In short, this vote is about economics just as much as it is about human rights and education and everything else it’s about. It’s about your city, and the path you want to demand from it.  (more…)

Photo courtesy Flickr/Johann Dreo

Photo courtesy Flickr/Johann Dreo

A whole lot of ugly politics has happened during the last few weeks of this school board election. And if you’re like me, you’re dismayed by the antics of people you respected, worried about whether this signals a new round of hostilities at board meetings, and probably just flat out tired of it.

You may even have decided not to vote now.

I’m not in the business of telling you exactly who to vote for. We’ve provided snapshots of each race and their endorsements, but those in no way should be construed as endorsements of any candidate.

But I’d like to tell you a story – one that if you go to the same church I do, you may have already heard told masterfully from the pulpit. But it’s a true story, and one that has become my guidance when thinking about decisions I have to make regarding Dallas ISD – whether it be who I vote for trustee or recommendations I make as part of the Site Based Decision Making Committee I’m on.

(more…)

Voters across the Dallas area will go to the polls on May 9 to elect mayor, city council members, and school district trustees. If you want your name to appear on a ballot, you should know that the filing period for candidates begins today. (Photo by iStock)

Voters across the Dallas area will go to the polls beginning today to elect school district trustees in four districts. (Photo by iStock)

Just a friendly reminder that early voting in the Dallas Independent School District school board election for districts 2, 4, 5 and 7 begins today.

During early voting, you can vote anywhere in Dallas County. Early voting will continue until May 3. Election Day for these races is May 7. (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…)

Voters across the Dallas area will go to the polls on May 7 to elect trustees for districts 2, 4, 5, and 7. (Photo by iStock)

Voters across the Dallas area will go to the polls on May 7 to elect trustees for districts 2, 4, 5, and 7. (Photo by iStock)

Now that the date to file to run for a trustee seat in Dallas Independent Schools Board of Trustees has passed, I thought we could talk a bit about who is running, and how and when endorsements will begin to shake out.

First, the candidates. Districts 4, 5, and 7 are part of the general election. District 2 is a special election to fill the seat vacated by Mike Morath, who has been appointed by Governor Greg Abbott to helm the Texas Education Commission.  Election day for the school board will be May 7, with early voting from April 25 to May 3.

In District 2, Suzanne Smith, Mita Havlick and Dustin Marshall will vie for the vacant seat. In District 3, where current trustee Nancy Bingham announced she would not be running again, three people have filed to run – Omar Jimenez, Jaime Resendez and Camile White. Marquis Hawkins and Linda Wilkerson-Wynn will join incumbent Lew Blackburn in running for the District 5 seat, while Audrey Pinkerton and Isaac Faz are running for the District 7 seat currently held by board president Eric Cowan, who announced he would not seek another term. (more…)