For the first time since 2014, there will be a contested election for the Conroe Independent School District board of trustees. As of the August 20 filing deadline, candidates have filed for three positions that will be on the November 6 ballot.
Conroe ISD is a taxing entity in Montgomery County that is in serious need of reform. After just passing a $487 million bond in 2015, the board is already discussing calling for yet another expensive bond in 2019.
In another example of disregard for taxpayers, the board voted 5-2 against reappraising the property of people whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Harvey. It was not until after the board received heavy backlash from the public that they reversed course a month later and approved the reappraisals.
The board’s behavior may be due to the fact that in 2016 none of the candidates were challenged (three of four were incumbents). Only one position in 2014 was seriously contested.
Until a few days before the filing deadline, it looked as if the positions up in 2018 would be uncontested as well. CISD has made it difficult to obtain filing information for the district online. However, in the last week before the deadline, a number of candidates stepped up, and every position on the ballot will be contested.
Position 1 will be an open seat, as the incumbent, Melanie Bush, is running for county treasurer instead. The candidates running for the seat are Dale Inman, a pastor and Republican Party Steering Committee member, realtor Theresa Wagaman, medical doctor Paul Piper, and psychotherapist Kathleen Harmatuk-Swisher.
For Position 2, incumbent Ray Sanders is being challenged by pediatric speech pathologist Kevin McZeal and April Andreski, a mother and activist involved with Texans for Vaccine Choice.
Position 3 incumbent Skeeter Hubert, who was a client of former political consultant and alleged child molester Mark Davenport, is being challenged by realtor Jamie Quinn. Hubert strongly opposed the reappraisals for Harvey victims.
For many Montgomery County taxpayers, CISD is the largest part of their tax bill. This election provides voters with a chance to hold board members accountable, and to ask candidates critical questions about issues such as the tax rate, bonds, and wasteful spending.