Richardson ISD board candidates discuss priorities ahead of first single-member district election Nov. 5

Former RISD trustee David Tyson Jr. opened the forum. The move to a single-member district electoral system is the result of a yearlong negotiation between the district and Tyson.

Former RISD trustee David Tyson Jr. opened the forum. The move to a single-member district electoral system is the result of a yearlong negotiation between the district and Tyson.

Candidates for Richardson ISD’s board of trustees gathered at Hamilton Park United Methodist Church for a forum on Oct. 14.

Former RISD trustee David Tyson Jr. opened the forum. The move to a majority single-member electoral system is the result of a yearlong negotiation between the district and Tyson, who claimed at-large elections favor white candidates and discourages minority candidates from seeking election.

Now, five of the district’s board members will be elected by voters living in specific districts. Three of those five single-member districts will be voted on in the Nov. 5 election. One race is uncontested.

Brewer Attorneys & Counselors, Tyson’s lawyers in his case against the district, and the North Dallas Suburban Alumnae of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., hosted the forum.

“This is really a historical time for Richardson Independent School District under this new five-two model,” said Lacy Durham, a North Dallas suburban alumnae and monitor at the forum. “It’s an opportunity for us to be more reflective of our diverse community.”

Candidates at the event included Vanessa Pacheco for District 2, and candidates Taler Jefferson, Regina Harris, Sakennia Reed and Patricia Price Hicks for District 4. Incumbent Eron Linn, who is running for re-election in District 2, was not in attendance.

Questions focused on willingness to dedicate time to the position of trustee, involvement and relationships with RISD schools, and diversity and inclusion at all levels of the district.

In regards to increasing parental involvement in schools, Jefferson spoke about her current and past work with advocacy groups and how that can lead to involvement.

“If we advocate and really express to the parents how important it is to be involved with every aspect of their child’s life—they see us, and I really do think that if they see someone who looks like them and maybe they will be a little bit more willing to get involved,” she said.

Harris said she believes trustees are supposed to be hands-on in a number of ways.

“I have to be in the classrooms—hearing what they’re saying, and seeing what they’re doing—letting those students and parents see that I am visible; I am serious; and I want to make a change,” Harris said.

To increase student inclusion in higher-level or alternate courses, Reed suggested the creation of a student advisory board as well as a full-day pre-K program for all students.

“We think we know what they want,” Reed said. “But I think the best thing we can do is just hear from the students about what it is that they want, and programs they would like to see, and what other career-exploration programs they’d like to have.”

Hicks emphasized the need for alternate course options for students who choose not to pursue college. She suggested looking to other school districts to pick the right courses.

“We need some other programs, and we need them soon because we are losing young people,” Hicks said.

Pacheco closed the forum by commenting on the value of the minority viewpoint.

“I think it’s a good example that as minorities, we ask different questions than the current board of trustees,” Pacheco said. “We look at life differently. We look at the concerns of our families.”

Another topic of discussion was candidate understanding of and compliance with the Texas Open Meetings Act. In a separate lawsuit, Tyson claimed his fellow trustees repeatedly violated this act. That complaint was also settled in January.

Early voting begins Oct. 21 and runs until Nov. 1. Election day for the RISD board of trustees and state constitutional amendments will take place Nov. 5.

Vanessa Pacheco, candidate for District 2[/caption]

Taler Jefferson, candidate for District 4[/caption]

Regina Harris, candidate for District 4[/caption]

Sakennia Reed, candidate for District 4[/caption]

Patricia Price Hicks, candidate for District 4[/caption]
SHARE THIS STORY
By Liesbeth Powers

Liesbeth graduated from Baylor University with a degree in new media journalism in December 2018. She gained her newspaper experience as a staff writer and multimedia editor at her campus paper, The Baylor Lariat. Liesbeth joined the Community Impact team in August 2019, where she reports on all things Plano, including education and transportation.


MOST RECENT

Trustees approved an expenditure of $300,000 for a study to update the college's Master Plano for 2020-25 at a regular meeting Jan. 28. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Collin College takes action on preparations for Master Plan update

Collin College will begin the process of updating its Master Plan beginning with the completion of a study to better understand changes in regional demographics and workforce composition.

Richardson City Council approved the issuance of more than $76 million worth of debt at its Jan. 27 meeting. (Makenzie Plusnick/Community Impact Newspaper)
City of Richardson to issue more than $76 million worth of debt in 2020

Once this debt has been issued, the city will have $13.3 million left of the $115 million bond approved by voters in 2015.

Velvet Taco will open a Richardson location this summer. (Courtesy Velvet Taco)
Velvet Taco to open this summer in Richardson

The restaurant's request for a special permit was approved Jan. 27 by Richardson City Council.

Texas Ballet Theater is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating, presenting and touring world-class ballet. (Courtesy Texas Ballet Theater)
Texas Ballet Theater reopens in new Richardson studio

The new location includes more space, multiple restrooms, office and staff areas, and dressing facilities for students.

Palapas Seafood Bar serves Mexican-style seafood dishes, such as ceviche. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Palapas Seafood Bar celebrates one year in Richardson

The restaurant serves Mexican-style cocktails and seafood dishes.

Nora Rotem, elementary school art finalist in the Martin Luther King Jr. diversity competition, shows her mother, Ori Rotem, her piece. Finalist and semifinalist art pieces filled the common area of Williams High School. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Gallery: Plano ISD holds 33rd diversity celebration performance and award presentation

The 2020 Plano ISD Diversity Celebration was the district's 33rd year of recognizing diversity in the district as a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.

There are 1.3 million registered voters countywide as of Jan. 23, according to the Dallas County Elections Office. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Number of registered voters up in Dallas County ahead of March 3 presidential primary

Those who wish to vote in the primary must register by Feb. 3.

USA Vein Clinics is now open in Richardson. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
USA Vein Clinics now open in Richardson

The business specializes in quick, in-office treatments for a variety of vein conditions

This rendering depicts how a redesign of Greenville Avenue could look once revitalization is complete. (Rendering courtesy city of Richardson)
Revitalization on the horizon in Richardson's Collins-Arapaho Innovation District

A recent city-led rezoning effort has primed the mostly industrial area for revitaliation and redevelopment, city officials say.

Mary Bowen started Hipster Baby as an online boutique in 2013. (Makenzie Plusnick/Community Impact Newspaper)
Stylish tots outfitted at Richardson children's boutique Hipster Baby

A lack of trendy clothing for her son led Mary Bowen to open a children’s boutique six years ago.

Main Street construction
Lane reduction on Main Street in Richardson to continue for several more months

The city is encouraging drivers to seek alternate routes.

Back to top