By Betsy Dolan
Voters sent a strong message to the Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees, ousting two incumbents during the city and schools election on Saturday, May 12.
In the Position 6 race, Jenny Bailey soundly defeated incumbent Marilyn Glover 56% to 44%, according to unofficial results released by the Fort Bend Election Commission. Bailey, who promised accountability and transparency during her campaign, and was a vocal opponent of the iPad program, said voters were sending the message that they are unhappy with some of the decisions the board has been making.
“I have kids in the school district,” Bailey said. “I see the frustration every day across the board from the teachers to the students, to the staff. I believe that the community feels like they just haven’t been heard.”
In the Position 7 race, Dave Rosenthal defeated perennial candidate Rodrigo Carreon and incumbent Cynthia Lenton-Gary. Rosenthal captured 52% of the vote to Carreon’s 6% and Lenton-Gary’s 41%. He has been a vocal critic of the district’s $26.4 million dollar Global Center for Science and Technology as well as the iPad program.
“People are angry,” Rosenthal said. “People want money spent wisely. They don’t want iPads when teachers are being laid off.”
Three newcomers campaigned for the Position 2 seat being vacated by Sonal Bhuchar who is running for District 26 state representative in the Republican primary. Grayle James narrowly defeated Patt Snyder, 44% to 40% while Denatta Williams received 15% of the vote.
“I believe that the need to make changes comes from what people are seeing in the schools,” James said. “Teacher morale is low and we need to fix that. We need to get everybody working on the same team.”
The Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees has come under fire in recent years in part over teacher layoffs, re-zoning issues, school accountability, approval of the iPad program, and a contract extension for Superintendent Timothy Jenney. Despite the new board-elect members running campaigns that criticized the district’s actions, working together, said Fort Bend ISD President Susan Hohnbaum, is where the emphasis needs to be now.
“As we do each May, we look forward to new members, fresh ideas, and renewed energy to continue the important work of providing and maintaining a quality education for each of the students in Fort Bend ISD,” said Hohnbaum.
The Fort Bend ISD school board-elect members will be sworn in after the Board of Trustees meeting on May 21.