Our “betters” in the Texas Legislature are at it again. On January 23, the Fort Bend Star published this story about Texas State Representative Ron Reynolds filing of a bill that would alter the current composition of Fort Bend ISD’s Board of Trustees district representation in the name of “diversity”. HB 527 circumvents the principles of rigorous public debate & competition at the ISD parent / board level to sneak a bill through the Texas Legislature for passage by our “betters”. HB 527 would ORDER that Trustees of Fort Bend ISD are to be elected from single-member trustee districts.
There are a few points worth mentioning:
1. The language of the bill reads in part:
“The board of trustees of an independent school district with the largest student enrollment in a county with a population of 555,000 or more that is adjacent to a county with a population of 3.3 million or more SHALL ORDER that trustees of the district are to be elected from single-member trustee districts.”
Easy to tell this bill applies to Fort Bend ISD, huh?
2. HB 527 would result in the creation of single-member districts, so Trustees would no longer represent ALL residents, essentially eliminating competition across the entire county for votes. How is the Board structured today?
The Fort Bend Independent School District Board of Trustees is comprised of seven local citizens and each Trustee represents ALL residents of the district. Two are elected each year, one from each side of the District:
If Fort Bend ISD’s divisions were replaced with the single-member district concept used in Houston ISD, each trustee would represent only residents of that smaller single-member district.
3. Filing HB 527 in The Lege does a disservice to the democratic process of rigorous & open public debate through voter education.
Sneaking a bill through The Lege to avoid robust & open public debate at the local level is a great mechanism for activists to conclude the elected official is simply trying to get a family member elected. Sneaking a bill through The Lege also prompts said activists to research campaign finance reports & wonder why a $4700 ethics fine was paid right after the November 2012 general election, yet before said fine is even posted on the Texas Ethics Commission website.
If you want an honest & open public debate on underperforming Fort Bend schools such as Lake Olympia Middle School, Parks Elementary School, Marshall and Willowridge High Schools, don’t hide behind a curtain of “diversity”; tell the truth, have rigorous public debate, and ensure it’s with the participation of all the parents & taxpaying residents.