Voters in the Amarillo area ousted an incumbent school board member on Saturday night, in favor of a pro-parent candidate.

On Saturday night, Canyon Independent School District voters elected businessman Paul Blake to the Canyon ISD board of trustees over incumbent Claudia Burkett, who was running in a special election to serve the remainder of the term to which she was appointed last year. Blake defeated Burkett, winning 62 percent of the vote, according to unofficial election totals from Randall County.

In the final days of the campaign, the main issue of the race centered on the appropriateness of books in school libraries. Burkett had said she intended to work with other school board trustees to develop a policy for the removal of certain books from Canyon ISD libraries. Meanwhile, Blake, who campaigned on his “core Christian values,” called on parents, staff, and community members to be more involved in the selection process and potential removal process for materials in schools. Ultimately, Blake won the backing of many activists who supported parents having a greater role in their children’s education.

With Blake’s election, he will now serve the remainder of the term for the Canyon ISD Board Place 1 position. The position will be up for election again for a full term in May 2023.

Thomas Warren

Thomas Warren, III is the editor-in-chief of the Amarillo Pioneer newspaper in Amarillo, Texas.


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