After Denison Independent School District superintendent sent out an email to employees encouraging them to vote for “pro-public education” candidates, the district’s website is now thanking its current state representative for supporting public education instead of school choice. 

On the homepage of Denison ISD’s website, the district posted a short memo about Texas legislators and school leaders who continue to oppose vouchers. 

In the memo, the district applauded its current State Rep. Reggie Smith (R-Van Alstyne) for his refusal to help pass school choice for all children in Texas. 

“Our Grayson County Texas House of Representatives member Reggie Smith stood firm in his support of Texas public schools in each of the recent special sessions,” reads the memo. “For that, we say ‘Thank you!’” 

It continued, encouraging every member of Denison ISD to “stay informed on Governor Greg Abbott’s plan to use public school funds to support private educational institutions.” 

The Texas Election Code prohibits public employees from using public resources to electioneer for or against candidates or measures on the ballot.  

Christine Welborn, executive director of election security organization Advancing Integrity, told Texas Scorecard that the growing practice of school districts electioneering needs to be stopped.

“ISDs cannot use taxpayer dollars to electioneer. This growing practice must be stopped,” said Welborn. “Denison ISD is riding the fine line between educating voters and flat out electioneering on their website.”

Last week, Texas Scorecard reported on Denison ISD’s Superintendent David Kirkbride sending out an email to district employees encouraging them to vote for candidates who “support public education” while decrying the governor’s push for school choice for Texas students.  

Additionally, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that he is filing civil actions against Denton ISD for allowing two administrators to send explicit political messages to staff in what Paxton describes as “illegal” election activity.

Government school officials accused of illegal electioneering can be reported to the Texas Ethics Commission, which is authorized to impose fines for election code violations, and to the Texas Education Agency, which can revoke educators’ certifications. 

Texas Scorecard reached out to Denison ISD for comment but did not receive a response before publication. 

Emily Medeiros

Emily graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Journalism. She is excited to use her research and writing skills to report on important issues around Texas.