After critical controversy over race theory, incumbents were ousted in Cy-Fair ISD school board elections

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After a year of heated controversy in the state’s third-largest school district, the challengers toppled three long-time incumbents for school board positions.

The winners of the Cypress-Fairbanks ISD (CFISD) election – Natalie Blasingame, Scott Henry and Lucas Scanlon – were all endorsed by the Harris County Republican Party (HCRP), Harris County Conservative Coalition (CCHC) and Business Policy Networking Organization BIZPAC.

Each position attracted multiple candidates, and although none garnered more than 50 percent of the vote, CFISD holds plurality elections in which the candidate with the most votes is declared the winner.

Responsible for the education of more than 116,000 students in northwest Harris County, the CFISD board sparked community outcry after passing a “Resolution condemning racism“In September 2020 which called for an” equity audit “and pledged to”lead through policies and practices to eliminate racism, systemic racism, discrimination, injustice and inequality in all its forms.

The district then contracted with Millennium Learning Concepts for $ 75,000 to conduct the audit and “provide recommendations on how to mitigate policies and practices that contribute to inequitable experiences and outcomes for students.”

Parents and community members inundated CCISD public meetings last year to protest elements of Critical Race Theory included in staff training and educational materials. They were also frustrated to learn that the board only allows 10 people to speak at each meeting, regardless of how many residents register. Speakers were chosen at random, but parents complained that the board did not draw names through a transparent process.

“Personally, several teachers have come up to me and whispered to me that their entire school is voting for us, and we saw it in the numbers,” said Scanlon, winner of the Place 7 seat. Texan. “The teachers lost confidence in the board because the board and administration did not support them; this is the feedback we heard.

Outgoing administrator John Ogletree had also sparked public dismay over a series of social media posts comparing police officers to the Ku Klux Klan and including racist comments about black GOP congressional candidate Wesley Hunt. With five challengers, Ogletree collected 32% against 36% for Blasingame.

In a statement to Texan, Blasingame pledged to work with the board, administration and teachers to implement the voters’ will by saying, “I am committed to serving students, families, staff and the community of Cy-Fair with love, compassion, excellence and unity to ensure that our schools are factories of hope for all students.

Place 6 winner, local business executive and municipal utilities district manager Henry won over 49% of the vote to replace incumbent Don Ryan in a four-man race.

“Our message was simple and resonated with the majority of our voters. They wanted change, support for our teachers, respect for family boundaries, an emphasis on academics, transparency of our policies and accountability., ” Henry wrote in a statement to Texan.

While the Texas American Federation of Teachers union backed Ogletree, they refused to back Ryan and instead backed newcomer Ryan C. Irving who got 17 percent of the vote.

Scanlon, assistant professor and consultant, beat incumbent Bob Covey for place 7 with more than 47 percent against 31 percent for Covey.

“I am grateful to the team we have assembled and who have supported us. We are three parents who have considered the cost of this race and the time it will take afterwards; we three families said yes, ”Scanlon said.

Ogletree has served on the CFISD board since 2004, while Ryan and Covey have served for 21 and 16 years, respectively. The three incumbents presented themselves as a list with the support of the PAC “CFISD Proven Leaders” which advocates pre-K programs and other full-time programs managed by the district.

In the aftermath of the election, the proven leaders of the CCISD took social media thank volunteers and encourage the public to hold elected officials to account.

The neighboring Houston ISD (HISD), which was mired in controversy for several years, seems to be heading towards the second round elections for places 1, 5, 6 and 7. The holders of these races are Elizabeth Santos, Sue Deigaard, Holly Flynn Vilaseca and Anne Sung.

The challengers who win a chance in the second round of the HISD elections are Janette Garza Lindner, Caroline Walter, Kendall Baker and Bridget Wade. Walter, Baker and Wade were all supported by the Harris County Conservative coalition and the Harris County Republican Party approved Walter, Baker and Wade, but approved Greg Degeyter for the 6 spot.


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