Citizens Ask KISD Trustees to Place Change on Ballot
by Karen Zurawski, News Editor
October 27, 1988
Concerned Citizens of KISD asked trustees Monday to put on the spring ballot a proposal to convert board makeup to single-member districts from at-large representation. [School districts/Board Members can initiate change to single-member districts themselves, or they can be forced to go to single-member districts by petition.MM]
The request will be studied by administrators with advice from legal counsel.
Meanwhile, Mary McGarr, group organizer, says citizens will continue to pursue a petition drive to collect 6,000 signatures by Jan. 1 to allow voters to decide if they want to change the method of representation next May.
She submitted related letters to the board inquiring about volunteers on Election Day setting up on school property to collect petition signatures, and about any district rules the petition form must meet. She requested an answer by Nov. 1.
McGarr publicly announced the petition drive in early October. She says the drive is an effort to achieve equal representation for citizens which she says is lacking under the present system.
Board President Mike Keller said administrators with legal counsel when necessary will respond if possible to these two requests by Nov. 1. McGarr says she already has checked with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General’s offices regarding the petition.
As to the main question of trustees placing the proposal on the ballot, Keller said it deserves further review by administration and legal counsel.
Authorization for the voter-approved conversion comes from Section 23.024 of the Texas Education Code.
McGarr added that a survey by the Texas Association of School Boards indicated independent school districts with single-member districts and comparable in size and makeup to the Katy ISD include: Beaumont, Denison, Columbia-Brazoria, New Braunfels and Ector County (Midland-Odessa).
McGarr enclosed responses from two districts about their conversion. The Ector County conversion was done on a voluntary basis, while Beaumont acted under federal court order to ensure minority representation.
KISD Trustee David Frishman was among elected officials who talked on the “tremendous ramifications” associated with the requested conversion.
He asked McGarr to name inequities in the district that led her to pursue the redistricting.
McGarr answered that those specifics on how citizens arrived at pursuing redistricting didn’t matter. Rather, what is important is correcting the incorrect situation of inequality within the district.
[Footnote, I ran against David Frishman the next time he ran and defeated him in a run-off.]