Grassroots organizations enter fray ahead of upcoming RRISD school board elections
Two groups led by parents, teachers and community members are fundraising and organizing for Round Rock school board candidates whose messages align with their values and goals.
Over the past year, school board meetings have become increasingly contentious, both at the meeting and among community members attending, over issues such as mask mandates, school curriculum and what books are not allowed. belong to school libraries.
Sixteen candidates, including five incumbents, are running for five seats on the Round Rock school board in November.. 8 elections.
The leadership of both groups, Focus on Education and Access Education RRISD, say they want to improve the district.
Both groups say they are nonpartisan, but Focus on Education is endorsing three members of Round Rock One Family, a conservative slate of candidates and none of the incumbents. Access Education is endorsing three of the incumbents and two candidates they say represent the district’s diverse community.
More:Five seats on the Round Rock school board are up for election. Meet the candidates.
Access Education RRISD was formed in November 2021. Meghan Roy, the group’s treasurer, said the organization wants to help ensure all members of the community are represented.
Roy said the group is focused on bringing three issues to the board’s attention: improving student outcomes, having parents’ voices heard at meetings and ending the division and chaos in the district from political divisiveness.
According to its website, the organization represents all races, religions and sexual preferences. The group has about 1,600 supporters on Facebook, Roy said.
Known for its members who wear yellow shirts to board meetings, Focus on Education was founded in December 2021 and is focused on restoring academic excellence to the district, said its president, Eric Norbut.
The group appreciates a return to sound curriculum, a return to basics, providing equal opportunities for every student, creating a respectful environment, community engagement, parental access and ensuring ethical, fair and transparent decision-making, Norbut said.
The group also provides resources on laws related to Critical Race Theory and information on parental choice/consent laws for sex education.
Norbut said the group of about 100 members is unhappy with the district’s leadership and political infighting. He said the group will support candidates who will work to focus on improving student outcomes.
“We cannot allow our students to languish while incumbent trustees focus on their political power struggles,” he said.
Access Education endorsed Estevan Zarate for Place 1, Amber Feller for Place 3, Alicia Markum for Place 4, Amy Weir for Place 5 and Tiffanie Harrison for Place 6. Feller, Weir and Harrison are incumbents.
Roy said the candidates they endorsed will help bring about the change they want, such as focusing on student outcomes, running the district efficiently, elevating community voices and helping Round Rock become a destination area.
“The candidates we’re supporting bring a growth mindset to the table,” Roy said. They have dialogue with parents and are open to working with us to address the challenges and aspirations of this diverse community and RRISD staff. Engaged with the wider community, I have never presented at any seminars on student outcomes or community engagement opportunities.”
Focus on Education endorsed John Keagy for Seat 1, Orlando Salinas for Seat 3, Linda Avila for Seat 4 and Christie Slape for Seat 5. Keagy, Salinas and Slape are part of a coalition of five conservative candidates running for one seat in each race .
“Focus on Education advocates for a board of trustees that prioritizes student achievement, listens and supports staff and teachers, and rebuilds Round Rock ISD into the destination district it once was,” Norbut said. “Our endorsement committee selected the candidates best equipped to provide the new leadership that RRISD so desperately needs.”
Both organizations have raised money for their candidates through donations. Group leaders said the money is being used for phone calls, texting and social media and billboard campaigns
Access Education has raised about $34,000 in donations since July, Roy said. Norbut said Focus on Education has raised $25,000.
More:Here’s what you need to know about voting in Round Rock
Early voting for the November 8 election runs through Friday.
During early voting and on election day, you can vote at any polling station. You can search for locations at teamrv-mvp.sos.texas.gov/MVP/mvp.do by entering your name, county, date of birth and ZIP code.