DISD Board President Election Was Un-American

“One person, one vote.” It’s simple really. This is a basic principle of any democratic body.

Now the words I used in the title of this post are a serious charge. At least they are in my book. Dallas South is not a shock blog, but if we get people stirred up from time to time that’s fine. Yet what I witnessed…or should I say listened to, last night at the DISD board meeting made me sick to my stomach.

I was in a time crunch on Thursday night, but I wanted to stop by the DISD board meeting because I knew there was a lot on the agenda; electing new officers, deciding what to do with the magnet schools and academies, and determining whether or not Board President Jack Lowe put a hit out on Carla Ranger’s career.

I arrived at the meeting about 10 minutes early and needless to say there were about 200 people outside either waiting to get in or protesting DISD’s position on the magnet schools. There was a loudspeaker set up, so I chose to listen in the courtyard rather than try to fight my way in with media credentials.

From the outset, Carla Ranger was pressing Lowe and her colleagues. Ranger made a motion to remove items related to the magnet schools from the agenda due to lack of sufficient time of the board to educate themselves on the matter.

Ms. Ranger correctly cited Robert’s Rules of Order, to ask that the items be dropped before the board adopted the agenda for the evening. However, DISD policy (apparently) has been that the agenda of the board president and superintendent is not adopted before each meeting. So while I think Ms. Ranger’s suggestion was a good one, I was not opposed to the “board’s” decision to move on with the agenda as previously crafted.

A DISD lawyer made an interesting comment at that point. He said “DISD Policy has precedence over Robert’s Rules of Order.” That was fine too, until the board tried to use Robert’s Rules of Order to hide behind their un-American officer elections.

it is necessary for the tellers to see that no member votes twice.” (Robert’s Rules of Order)

The election went down so fast, if you did not have a good grasp on proper meeting procedure, it would have been easy too miss what actually happened. But in college we used Robert’s Rules much more effectively at our frat meeting than any attempts I heard around the horseshoe on Thursday night. Here’s what happened in the election of DISD Board President:

Jack Lowe excused himself from the chair.

Lowe passed the gavel to Michael Hinojosa.

Hinojosa opened the floor for nominations for the position of Board President.

Dr. Edwin Flores, Adam Medrano, and Dr. Lew Blackburn were nominated.

Hinojosa announced that votes be cast until someone was elected by majority.

Hinojosa called for a vote for Dr. Flores

Jack Lowe, Dr. Flores, Jerome Garza, and Nancy Bingham voted for Flores

Hinojosa called for a vote for Mr. Medrano

Jack Lowe, Dr. Edwin Flores, Mr. Medrano Jerome Garza, Nancy Bingham voted for Medrano

Hinojosa declared a majority vote for Mr. Medrano and declared him as the new Board President (if you don’t believe me check the DISD website, it has already been changed).

Leigh Ann Ellis, Carla Ranger, Ron Price, and Dr. Lew Blackburn are not even recorded in the record as casting a vote.

Has anyone, anyone, every heard of anything like this? I have never heard of anyone casting two votes in an election. I have never heard of an election where members were not allowed to cast a vote.

If this is the way that the Dallas Independent School District is run, the I see why it has been plagued with so many problems. When Dr. Hinojosa was called into question for members voting twice, he said Robert’s Rules of Order was followed. I have yet to see where Robert’s Rules (which are best used as a guide rather than absolute) allows for voting for more than one candidate.

If people in Dallas feel like this is O.K., then I guess I should either get with the program or rethink my decision to become a DISD parent. This board probably came in wanting to elect Mr. Medrano president. Fine. But to see a blatant disrespect for democracy in order to do so is sickening. They should have just nominated Medrano and Blackburn and been done with it.

Could someone please tell me that I’m wrong about this?

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