Williamson County School Board Race Turns On Issue Of Partisanship

Credit: Ryan M. via Flickr

Credit: Ryan M. via Flickr

Williamson County’s school board will definitely include new faces after this election. While six districts are on the ballot, only three incumbents are running to keep their seat. As newcomers come in, the question is how overtly political they’ll be.

Two of the open races are essentially decided already; newcomers Paul Bartholomew and Jay Galbreath are both running unopposed.

In the other four races, the county’s teachers union supports the three sitting board members and, in the other contested district, Melody Morris. With a track record of ranking at the top of the state, and the Williamson County Education Association’s political action committee indicated it didn’t see the need to rock the boat. What’s more, the teachers expressed concerned some of the challengers would insert too much politics into what’s supposed to be a nonpartisan board.

An email made public in April that suggested Republican leaders in the county were vetting school board candidates raised concern that the race was becoming partisan. Then, last month, three candidates  received an email containing advice on how to oust superintendent Mike Looney, who pushed for a state law exempting the county’s teachers from state evaluation requirements. Paul Bartholomew, Beth Burgos, Dan Cash and Susan Curlee all got the strategy outline from Republican activist Kent Davis. The candidates later held a press conference to say they can’t be held responsible for communication others choose to send their way.

Several of the candidates have outraised the county’s previous $3000 record for a school board election, with those totals nudged up by donations from political action committees.

District 2
Dan Cash
Melody Morris
Patsy Writesman (has pulled out of the race, but her name remains on the ballot)

District 4
Paul Bartholomew

District 6
Jay Galbreath

District 8
Pat Anderson (incumbent)
Candy Emerson

District 10
Beth Burgos
Eric Welch (incumbent)

District 12
Susan Curlee
Vicki Vogt (incumbent)


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