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As School Board Elections Loom, Some Candidates Are Still Absent

The Austin ISD school board meets tonight to discuss a budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
KUT News
Only seven candidates of the nine seats on the Austin Independent School District's Board of Trustees have applied ahead of the filing deadline on Aug. 18.

Update: One candidate has filed to run for the AISD School Board in District One. David "D" Thompson filed with the district Wednesday. Scroll down for a full list of the filed candidates.

Original Story (10:01 a.m.): For students in Austin schools, deadlines for homework or class projects are usually accompanied with an appropriate level of last-minute scrambling.

But, for would-be candidates vying for open seats on the Austin Independent School District’s school board, Monday’s filing deadline isn’t inspiring the same level of frenzy typically associated with school-related deadlines.

Only seven potential candidates have thrown their hat into the ring since the elections opened up on July 18, but the late-filings aren’t anything new to the campaigns for Board of Trustee races.

If you qualify and want to run for the Austin School Board, you’ve had since July 18 to file. But, as of 5 p.m. on Tuesday, just seven people have done so.  

One seat in Northeast Austin’s District 1 doesn’t have any candidates in the running so far. And the other open seats all have three or fewer candidates so far.

This week, at large Trustee Tamala Barksdale announced she would not run for re-election to spend more time with her family. She joins Trustees Lori Moya, Cheryl Bradley and Vincent Torres, who also announced they would not run again. Trustee Robert Schneider, who represents District 7 in Southwest Austin, is the only current school board member running for reelection. He says from his experience, it seems a little late for people to file, but he’s not surprised.

When school board elections are held in November they have to compete with other races.

“You’ve got a lot more competition on the ballot so you have to raise more funds,” Schneider says. “It’s going to be expensive particularly in the at large race to try and run an effective campaign to get your name out in front of the public.”

Plus, Schneider says it’s an unpaid position that requires a huge time commitment. So it’s not exactly the most attractive way to spend your Monday evenings. Outgoing board member Cheryl Bradley says she’s not surprised at the small number of candidates:

“When I filed in 2002 I waited until the very last day and I was the only one that filed so I ran unopposed,” Bradley says. “If you look at last two elections, I ran unopposed then too.”

Bradley represents District One. That’s the district that doesn’t have a candidate yet. If no one files, Bradley could remain the trustee for that district until the board appoints someone else. The board could appoint anyone. But like with all school board members, he or she has to live in the district they represent.

Candidates for 2014 AISD School Board Elections:

District 1

  • David "D" Thompson
  • Edmund T. Gordon
  • Stanton Strickland

District 4

  • Julie Steffes Cowan
  • Karen Zern Flanagan

District 6

  • Monica Sanchez

District 7

  • Theresa Bastian
  • Robert Schneider
  • Yasmin Wagner

At Large

  • Kendall Pace
  • Dr. Kazique J. Prince (announced, not officially filed)
  • Andy M. Trimino
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