After the controversial resignation of a popular coach, debates over the renaming of Amarillo’s Lee Elementary School, and the passage of a $100 million bond, a group of challengers have stepped up to take on the incumbents in Amarillo’s upcoming school board races.

Ahead of the May 4 Amarillo ISD elections, six challengers have signed up to challenge two incumbents in a cumulative election for seats on the school board. Incumbents Jim Austin and John Betancourt are seeking re-election, facing challengers Dick Ford, Kimberly Anderson, Hobert Brown, Aaron Ladd, Rob Parker, and Alonzo Everhart. Incumbent Scott Flow is not running for re-election, leaving one open seat on the board.

The packed field came following a number of controversies, including the recent high-profile resignation of Amarillo High School volleyball coach Kori Clements, who credited her departure to a “parent’s political pressure.” Some members of the public have pointed the blame at incumbents on the school board for Clements’ departure, even unsuccessfully calling for resignations. AISD is also facing questions over undertaking a proposed renaming of Lee Elementary School, which recently had the words “Robert E.” removed from its facade in a controversial 4-3 vote by the school board.

Aside from AISD, Canyon Independent School District will hold a May special election for one unexpired term on the board. River Road ISD and Bushland ISD will also hold elections for full terms this May.

Voters will decide these races on May 4. Early voting will be held from April 22 through April 30.

Thomas Warren

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