A new political action committee is supporting incumbent school board candidates in Denton Independent School District’s May 2024 election over challengers who have opposed inappropriate content in local schools.

One of the committee’s goals is to “elect school board members who champion the needs of students from all identities.”

The political action committee is called Supporters of Denton ISD PAC, or SODPAC.

Its website describes SODPAC as “a group of teachers, staff, parents, and community members dedicated to supporting school board candidates who prioritize children over partisan politics.”

SODPAC claims “two overarching goals” to accomplish its purpose: avoiding “political agendas” and “divisive ideologies,” and “advocating for students of all identities” to create a school system that is “equitable for all.”

Two Denton ISD school board seats are on the May ballot.

SODPAC endorsed incumbents Barbara Burns and Sheryl English.

Burns, a longtime teacher in the district, has held the Place 1 seat since 2012. English, a realtor, was first elected in 2021.

Debi Scaggs, a Denton ISD graduate with a grandchild now attending school in the district, is running for Place 1 against Burns.

Terry Senne, a retired professional educator with 40 years of experience, is challenging English for Place 2.

Both Scaggs and Senne have advocated for protecting students from sexualized content and focusing on core academics.

A semi-annual campaign finance report filed on December 31, 2023, showed SODPAC had not yet received any donations, but the PAC’s website donation page showed the group had received $655 as of Thursday.

The PAC’s treasurer is Christopher Lam, an associate professor at the University of North Texas in Denton.

According to UNT’s student newspaper, North Texas Daily, Lam said Denton ISD employees are participating in the PAC anonymously because “they want to remain ‘safe’ from implications of political bias.”

Denton dad and attorney Mitch Little, who just won the Republican primary race to represent Texas House District 65, called the NTD article “extremely concerning.”

“Apparently, electioneering in Denton ISD is moving underground,” Little posted on X.

Last month, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a civil lawsuit against Denton ISD officials for alleged illegal electioneering activities during the March primary elections. Two administrators used the district’s email system to incentivize school employees to “vote in the Texas Republican primary” for candidates identified as supporting public education.

On March 1, Denton ISD agreed to an injunction stating that district employees would not violate state laws against electioneering.

The Denton ISD administrators are also the subject of criminal electioneering complaints filed by local voters with Denton County District Attorney Paul Johnson.

Johnson’s office has not responded to repeated requests to confirm whether the DA has opened a criminal investigation.

Little spoke on behalf of Scaggs in a school board hearing last month to determine if the district would keep two books promoting gender ideology in an elementary school library.

The two titles were among several books Scaggs had challenged as educationally unsuitable for young students.

Despite endorsements from SODPAC, whose stated aim is “an educational environment free from divisive ideologies,” both Burns and English voted with the majority of trustees to keep the books.

Denton ISD school board elections will be held May 4. Early voting begins April 22.

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.