Education

Carla Ranger: Power to the People, Not the Dallas Independent School District Trustees

Last week we noted: Tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. at Dallas Independent School District HQ, the school board's set to hear how the public feels about extending trustees' terms from three to four years. You got something to say on the subject, now's the time to sign up -- deadline's 5 this evening.

This morning, Carla Ranger weighs in -- though anyone following the doings at 3700 Ross Avenue in '08 and '09, when the Texas Attorney General stepped in to slap trustees on the hand for attempting to extend their terms illegally, knows where she stands on the subject. Long story short: She was against it then, and she's against it now. Some highlights from her morning post "Dallas ISD Trustees should be more accountable to the public -- not less":

In 2008, I was re-elected by the good people of District 6 to serve a 3-year term ending in May, 2011. Of course, there was nothing on the ballot for the voters to approve that would allow me to extend my own term.

While it may be tempting to rationalize extending my own term for good reasons, I find it unacceptable to do so in light of personal experience showing how power will be abused. ...

Dallas ISD Trustees are already less accountable to the public than the Dallas City Council, Texas State Representatives or members of the U.S. Congress. In the same 6-year period, these elected officials are accountable to the public in three elections, while Dallas ISD Trustees are currently accountable to the public in only two elections in six years.

Public service is a privilege given by the citizens who elected us.

Three-year terms make Trustees more accountable to the public. Four-year terms make Trustees less accountable to the public. Four-year terms also make change in governance more difficult. The opportunity for other citizens to serve is also reduced.

A four-year term will give more power to Trustees and less power to the public. Elections matter and democracy wins when public officials must stand before citizens for re-election.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky

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