Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Governance in Dallas ISD

Governance is an issue in Dallas ISD, but "home rule" is NOT the answer!  

Term limits, recall capability, a living wage for trustees, and redistricting for more compact and representative districts that do not fragment minority populations, are all needed governance reforms that do not require "home rule!"  But November elections are not a positive reform!

We need to improve the potential that the voting public actually knows their trustee instead of increasing the potential for PACS and other outside district money sources to control elections.  
100% of the current board started their election campaigns with the blessing of PAC money, except for Carla Ranger!   Carla Ranger remains probably the DISD Board member who is most well known and popular in their home district on the board.  Such popularity must continue to overrule PAC's!
When it comes to being popular in your district, and having a dedicated following who come out to vote for you, a November election pattern will not be progress.  It would only give more power in the election to those with money, too often from outside the district, who are better able to reach the more apathetic segments of the population with this funded outreach.  
Will giving more power in an election to those with money from outside the district be a step forward?  
Look at what is now happening in the two currently contested DISD Board races.  In both districts money from outside the district is having a major role in the election.   It is NOT the voters inside the district controlling the information flow, the mailings, the phone banks, the paid workers walking door to door.   But, due to a relatively small pool of active voters who can be targeted by candidates and devoted volunteers, candidates without the funding have a real potential to win in these elections without such PAC funding.  They have time to target those who have a history of voting in school board elections. 
Power from money for sound bite advertising will only increase exponentially with a November election and lessen the ability of non-PAC-endorsed candidates to win.  November elections will have more voters who are neither studying the issues nor aware of what is happening inside DISD. They are the most easily manipulated by such funded campaign advertising.  

With the current elections, due to the low turnout, you have the most involved and knowledgeable voters from each district who are making the decision.  Sound bite advertising has the least effect on these more involved voters.
What is the true motivation of "home rule" advocates who want to give more control of the governance system in DISD to those most able to donate more money?   Such methods do not indicate benign intent.