North Texans sent a strong message in local elections on Saturday. The ongoing specter of a taxpayer-funded boondoggle and exposed divisive, racialized ideologies in education sparked voters to send a rebuke at the ballot box.

Carroll Independent School District

In northern Tarrant County, in the city of Southlake, parents have grown furious with Carroll ISD after it was exposed last year that school board trustees attempted to ram through a far-left Cultural Competence Action Plan that would, among other things, create a system where students could report each other for “microaggressions” and establish an LGBTQ+ student focus group.

Parents encountered resistance from the school district in their attempts to stop CCAP. Finally, it took a citizen to get the courts to both stop the plan and force the school to turn over communications about CCAP. It came to a head in April when school board President Michelle Moore and Vice President Todd Carlton were indicted for allegedly violating the Texas Open Meetings Act while discussing the plan.

In the May 1 election, two places on the school board were on the ballot, and local activists recommended Cameron Bryan and Hannah Smith. Bryan won with 68 percent of the vote, and Smith won with 69 percent.

Grassroots candidates for Southlake mayor and two city council places also won overwhelmingly, with mayoral candidate John Huffman and Place 2 candidate Randy Robbins winning by 70 percent, and Place 5 candidate Amy Torres-Lepp winning by 69 percent.

“It is clear now that the woke mob is not as numerous as they claim,” citizen Ashley McCurry told Texas Scorecard.  “Parents do not want their children or their children’s teachers indoctrinated with critical race theory. We want our children to value character over color.”

“Conservatives are not powerless,” Tim O’Hare added. “You absolutely can make a difference. In Southlake, we stood up and said we love this town, we love America. This isn’t happening on our watch.”

Why anyone would want to teach kids critical race theory is beyond me. Promoting racism to confront racism and teaching kids to hate their country? What a foolish idea.  

Critical race theory was the main concern in Keller ISD, as well.

Grassroots activists recommended school board candidates Charles Randklev won Place 6 by 66 percent, and Ruth Nancy Keyes won Place 7 by 63 percent.

“The community decisively voted against critical race theory further infiltrating our schools,” Kris Kittle told Texas Scorecard. “It was so exciting to see parents get involved and rise up united against the racism being taught in CRT! The quiet majority has been awakened. They will no longer remain silent.”

In Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, recommended challenger Shannon Braun will face incumbent Mindy McClure in the June 5 runoff.

Tarrant Regional Water District

The TRWD is one of the local governments that has managed and overseen the $1.2 billion real estate redevelopment boondoggle known as Panther Island. The son of Congresswoman Kay Granger (R–TX) was hand-picked to run it, despite having no experience.

Mary Kelleher ran for the TRWD board after her farm and home were devastated due to flooding in 2010, 2012, and twice in 2016. She won election and served from 2013 to 2017, fighting to bring more transparency to the water district.

She lost re-election in 2017 and another bid in 2019. She ran again this year on a ballot where the three top vote-getters would be sent to the board. On May 1, citizens rehired Kelleher, giving her 15 percent of the votes.

She reported only $1,560.00 in campaign donations, compared with more than $47,000 donated to Charles “C.B.” Team, who was backed by the Fort Worth establishment.

“I served the people before with honesty and transparency, and I’ll do so again,” Kelleher told Texas Scorecard. “People have a right to know how their taxpayers’ dollars are spent.”

“The citizens spoke loud and clear that they are tired of their votes and their river being bought and sold,” manager Layla Caraway added.

The Grangers were handed another defeat on May 1 when attorney Dee Kelly Jr.’s faction of the Fort Worth establishment defeated the Granger’s candidate for mayor, Brian Byrd, likely ending the Granger plan to complete Panther Island by lobbying for federal tax dollars.

The endorsed candidate of Kelly Jr.’s faction, Mattie Parker, has proposed local governments ally with business as the way forward for the project. Parker will face Democrat Deborah Peoples in the June 5 runoff.

Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.