Just got off the phone with tax attorney Mark Melton, who, as you'll recall, is co-chairing EducateDallas, that political action committee with ties to the Dallas Regional Chamber. I had questions following receipt of a release this afternoon that says the PAC is endorsing two candidates for the Dallas Independent School District board of trustees: Edwin Flores and Bernadette Nutall, each of whom will receive $10,000 along with the thumbs-up.
But, but ... just a few weeks ago the PAC said January 17 -- today -- was the deadline for would-be candidates to submit their questionnaires, after which they'd be interviewed by the EducateDallas board, after which there'd be an endorsement. And, and ... what about Bruce Parrott's seat? Is the PAC opting not to back the District 3 incumbent?
Actually, says Melton, EducateDallas just interviewed Parrott yesterday, and they do believe one other contender is likely to file. "We're just waiting till all the potential players are in place," he says. "We haven't made any decisions on who we will endorse in District 3, but we'll make it public in a few weeks."
As for Flores and Nutall: Melton says there may be one challenger for Flores's District 1 seat, and though he did turn in his responses to the PAC's questionnaire he's yet to decide if he'll run. Nutall's would-be District 9 challenger likewise hasn't made his intentions clear and opted not to respond. Regardless, I told Melton, I thought EducateDallas intended to go out and recruit candidates for the school board. Right now, three incumbents and three maybes isn't much different than last year, when the district called off elections because no one wanted to run.
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"The pool isn't extremely large yet," he acknowledges. "Historically, a lot of people have looked at the DISD board and said it's dysfunctional, and a lot of people haven't felt they've had much of a platform to make a difference. But for the first time in a long time, it seems to me the board isn't dysfunctional -- they're getting along well, and it shows in a lot of the policies they've passed recently. With regards to Bernadette and Edwin, we've seen the leadership role they've taken on, and we like the direction of the board. And while we want to encourage a good pool to run, we're most interested in getting people who will make the right decision for kids, and if they're incumbents, that's fine."