Wanted for Ballot: AISD Candidates
Tamala Barksdale has yet to declare
Five seats, two candidates. Filing for the Austin Independent School District trustees election began on July 18, but almost two weeks into the process, only two people have actually filed paperwork to run, and education advocates are working hard to find someone, anyone, to fill three, or possibly four, vacant seats:
• District 1 (Northeast): After three terms, Trustee Cheryl Bradley has made it clear that she will not run again. However, so far there's no sign of a replacement.
• District 4 (Northwest): Board president Vince Torres made the unexpected announcement in April that he is stepping down after two terms. His surprise departure left a major gap and, like District 1, no name has emerged to replace him.
• District 6 (Southeast): Lori Moya also steps down after two terms. She already has a confirmed candidate to replace her: Former Austin Council of PTAs president Monica Sanchez has filed the requisite paperwork with the district to run. However, she was seen in some quarters as too supportive of former superintendent Meria Carstarphen, and may well face opposition from education advocate and PR consultant Paul Saldaña.
• District 7 (Southwest): With Bradley's departure and if he is re-elected, then Robert Schneider becomes the longest-tenured member of the board. He has filed his paperwork to run again (and already made public his intention to run for board president if he wins). Neither of his two declared challengers – AMD creative director and district Boundary Advisory Committee member Yasmin Wagner and former teacher-turned-Realtor Theresa Bastian – has formally entered the race, but Wagner has at least designated a treasurer.
• At-Large Place 9: Trustee Tamala Barksdale has been taciturn about her electoral future since some noncommittal statements in April. Education advocates are looking at Barksdale as the key to this election. If she doesn't run, there is at least one candidate rumored to be lined up to replace her. But if she does declare, she's likely to be unbeatable, and any challengers would likely either step aside or move into another slot. She's expected to make a statement of some kind this week or early next, but there is already mounting frustration about her silence: With 70 declared City Council candidates, it's taking weeks to get something as simple as campaign fliers printed. Until Barksdale moves, these races lag further and further behind.