DISD board vote may extend trustee terms and delay May election

When Carla Ranger starts looking like the reasonable one on the DISD board, we might have a big problem. But that seems to be the case on the board’s possible vote today to delay the currently scheduled spring elections for trustee seats currently held by Edwin Flores, Leigh Ann Ellis and Ron Price.

In a nod to stability, the board is considering extending board terms, which would mean the three trustees wouldn’t face re-election until 2010 as opposed to May 2009. The board is relying on a state law that allows school boards to extend trustee terms; DISD’s lawyers apparently are giving the board the go-ahead even as Ranger cites other legal opinions saying such a move would be illegal.

Jim Schutze weighs in on the idea in this week’s Dallas Observer, and most of his points are dead-on.

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Extending trustee terms is a good idea, giving the volunteers we elect a longer period of time to learn the ropes and at least try to keep everything honest on Ross Avenue.

But voting to extend the terms to get around having an election, as opposed to making the term extension effective after the next election cycle, essentially trumps our right as voters to have a say on DISD’s ongoing issues. It could very well be in DISD’s best interests — and it certainly is in Supt. Michael Hinojosa’s best interest — to keep these three supportive board members on the job. But that’s just not the way things should be done in a democracy. An election to vote in new board members, if that occurred, might make things even more messy at DISD, while re-electing these three board members would send a message that stability is what voters want.

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But that’s a decision for voters to make, and it shouldn’t be taken away from us by the very people whose actions many are questioning.

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