North Texas State Rep. Glenn Rogers of Graford has been promoting his anti-school choice stance to government school administrators, who in turn are pushing his stance on faculty and staff.

Through an open records request to the Breckenridge Independent School District, Texas Scorecard obtained a January 6 text message Rogers sent to 14 people.

“That screenshot was a message that I received on my personal cell phone,” Breckenridge ISD superintendent Bryan Allen told Texas Scorecard.

In the group message, Rogers sent a link to an opinion piece he wrote that was published by Palo Pinto Press titled “Vouchers are not conservative.” In it, Rogers argued that “Under the guise of promoting choice, proposed school voucher programs are a ‘trojan horse’ attempt to privatize Texas’ education system, and drain our already underfunded public education of necessary resources for millions of children.”

In response to the link Rogers sent, one person wrote, “Yes! Great article! It was published as a guest column in our Fall 2023 newsletter to all Garner ISD residents!” Only a phone number, which Texas Scorecard has redacted, is assigned to the response. No name was given.

Texas Scorecard asked Allen who was in the group text. “I do not know who the other recipients of the message are,” he replied.

A search returned seven names associated with that phone number. Three are variations of the name Rebecca Hallmark. That is the same name as Garner ISD’s superintendent. Texas Scorecard asked Hallmark for comment, and if the school district newsletter had indeed published Rogers’ opinion piece. She did not reply before publication.

Texas Scorecard asked attorney Tony McDonald about the text message exchange. “This goes to the issue of taxpayer funded lobbying and the use generally of school tax dollars for things that aren’t educating children. While publishing an article about a legislative issue isn’t ‘electioneering,’ it still appears to be contrary to state law which requires schools to use the tax dollars given to them to fulfill their mission of educating kids,” he stated. “Just like it wouldn’t be appropriate for a school to suddenly decide it wants to run a chain of pizzerias, it isn’t appropriate for a school to be engaging in a bunch of legislative advocacy using taxpayer funds.”

Both the Rogers campaign and his House chief of staff were asked for comment about the text message exchange. Neither replied before publication.

There have been other reported interactions between the Rogers campaign and school administrators.

Later in January, Breckenridge Junior High School principal Laura Gibson filmed an ad for Rogers where she urges people to join her by voting “to send Glenn back to Austin so he can continue to fight, not only for our teachers and our schools but most importantly for our students.”

The video appears to have been taken in Gibson’s office which could be a violation of state law. Section 255.003 of the Texas Election Code prohibits public employees from using public resources to electioneer. It is not clear whether the video was filmed during school hours. The Rogers campaign deleted the video and replaced it with another one of Gibson reciting the same speech—this time at a different location.

Another electioneering incident occurred in the area during early voting when 14 superintendents signed a letter urging parents to vote because “our public schools depend on it.”

 

School choice advocate Corey DeAngelis highlighted other Rogers connections with government education. He posted on X that Rogers has touted endorsements from elected school board presidents, and the head of the American Federation of Teachers, who support him because he is against school choice.

Christine Welborn, president of Advancing Integrity, an election integrity organization, commented on these three ties between Rogers and government schools. “This appears to be a coordinated effort to use taxpayer dollars and the heavy hand of the ISDs to directly influence elections,” she stated. “Some ISD administrators have walked right up to the line of illegality while others have clearly crossed it. All have violated the spirit of the law. If these administrators want to electioneer on their own time, with their own resources, they have that right. They cannot, however, use ISD funds, email lists, offices, or other resources to tell people how to vote.”

Welborn said Advancing Integrity will ask Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to investigate the recent electioneering activities at Breckenridge ISD, Garner ISD, and every single school district that signed onto the letter in support of Rogers.

Across the state, school administrators have been caught engaging in what is alleged to be electioneering. During early voting, Denison ISD Superintendent David Kirkbride emailed Denison ISD employees to support government schools by voting in the March 5th primary election. Not long after, Attorney General Ken Paxton sued Denton ISD for allowing two administrators to electioneer.

Robert Montoya

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

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