Need to know basis....I know that the
school board elections are what seems a long way off (May
12) but early voting starts soon (April 30). Don’t worry. I
double-checked the dates since sometimes I mix them up. The
above are correct.
Because the Star is not published before
the start of early voting which is, put another way, next
Monday, I want to opine about the election this week. If
your memory is like mine, you will need to cut out this
article to refer to before you vote.
I’m not telling you how to vote. I’m just
telling you my almost-30 years experience covering Fort Bend
ISD has lead me to certain beliefs.
They are, not necessarily in order of
importance: (1) School board candidates should have a valid,
articulate reason for running for the board. (2) School
board candidates should have children in the district. (3)
School board candidates should have attended previous board
meetings to ascertain what the job entails. (4) School board
candidates should have previously volunteered in their
child’s schools. (5) School board candidates should not be
former educators or currently working for any school
district, particularly FBISD.
Board members are elected to set the
policy of the district, not micro-manage. Board members have
the responsibility to hire the district administrators which
will then carry out that policy. It seems when former
educational people are hired, they think they can and should
run the district better than the hired superintendent.
That’s when all sorts of problems start to develop as
witnessed by the recent debacle when FBISD board members
“retired” the current superintendent and tried to run the
district themselves through an acting superintendent.
So let’s talk.... about the current
crop of candidates. Lisa Rickert, the incumbent, was the
leader of the cabal that “retired” the then-superintendent,
then appointed a weak temporary superintendent (who later
was “retired”). Her cohort, at the time, was Ken Bryant, who
is also rerunning.
Here’s the history......The first
year they (Rickert and Bryant) were in office, neither
appeared to be prepared for the meetings. Rickert regularly
suggested the board postpone a decision so she could get
more information on a particular agenda item before casting
a vote on it. That also continued the year she was board
Rickert also asked questions of
administrators that she could have asked in a phone call
before the meeting instead of grandstanding and prolonging
the meetings. Bryant did the same thing but not as
Even though the two were a minority on
the board, from the beginning it appeared they were going to
buck whatever the other five deemed acceptable.
There is nothing wrong with this but in
many cases, it looked like show biz, folks.
Numerous board votes were 7-2 with Bryant
and Rickert voting together.
Rickert was also rude and condescending
to administrators. She stopped forward progress of any kind
at all levels by demanding more and more info or “look into
this” of Betty Baitland, the then-current superintendent.
Rickert and Bryant, the two who
questioned nickels, spent much more money hiring a lawyer to
try to “get something” on Baitland, ran up legal bills at
board meetings, then fired the school’s legal representative
and hired an more expensive one.
That was then, this is now.....They
have now hired a much more expensive (and perhaps worth it,
who knows) superintendent who has added more expensive jobs
to the administrative staff. These jobs may be necessary
considering the size of the district and considerable
expected growth but Bryant and Rickert haven’t been the
penny pinchers they’d have everyone believe they were.
It seems to me that if you truly want
academically improved schools, you don’t work to put the
district on hold for a year or more. This is, in a nutshell,
what both of these incumbents are guilty of.
Currently, Rickert’s belief that the
rules aren’t made for her is showing its ugly face. Her car
was parked in the administration parking lot with magnetic
signs asking you to vote for her. Two people advised her to
remove them, but she refused to take them off.
At the last school board meeting Rickert
and Bryant met in the parking lot during the meeting (at a
break) with a group of Chinese residents who were there
about a discipline case involving a Chinese student. They
were heard making what could easily be termed a “campaign”
speech as the group applauded the two.
It was inappropriate and unbefitting for
either of the board members to meet in the parking lot
during the board meeting about student discipline, and to do
this during a campaign was just wrong.
Strange that only Rickert and Bryant of
all the board members met in the parking lot with the
Running against incumbent Lisa Rickert is
Bob Broxson. Bob meets all five of my criteria.
Running against incumbent Ken Bryant is
Ann Hopkins and Noel Pinnock, both of whom are currently
employed by school districts. That’s just not a good thing.
That leaves David Reitz, who, thankfully,
also meets my criteria.
Both men have children in the district,
have attended board meetings, don’t work for the FBISD or
HISD, and have previously volunteered.
I think Bob Broxson and David Reitz will
make excellent additions to the board of trustees of Fort
B.K. Carter is the owner/publisher of the
Fort Bend/Southwest Star. She can be reached at