Apr 26, 2022 - News

Austin-area school districts hold elections

Animated illustration of three different people wearing an "I Voted" sticker.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Voters in the Hays, Dripping Springs and San Marcos school districts can now cast ballots for candidates in contested school board seats.

Why it matters: School board meetings on Austin's fringes have become political war zones, as some of the great clashes of our time — over masking, books, the teaching of race and history — play out in the classroom.

Earlier this month, a Williamson County judge dismissed a lawsuit that Round Rock school district trustees filed against other board members who had proposed censuring them.

  • According to the censure resolutions, the two board members, who opposed mask mandates, had disrupted a Sept. 14, 2021, board meeting by demanding a vote on spacing rules that limited public seating due to COVID-19, even though the issue was not on the agenda.
  • Of note: Round Rock — as well as Austin, Leander and other school districts — will have board elections in November.

Between the lines: These fast-changing areas are also coping with growing pains.

  • The Hays Consolidated school district, for example, which serves families in the cities of Kyle and Buda, has a $115 million bond package on the ballot, to raise money to build a new elementary school for 900 kids and to buy 55 new buses, among other things.
  • And school districts are struggling to retain teachers amid a highly competitive labor market.

What they're saying: "I will continue to advocate for a healthy, supportive culture for our educators, as well as higher pay," Joanna Day, a Dripping Springs school board member who is running for re-election, told the Statesman.

What's next: Early voting runs through May 3 and election day is May 7.

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