Wagner Joins Austin ISD Board
Failed 2014 candidate takes position by appointment
By Richard Whittaker,
10:55AM, Tue. Sep. 29, 2015
In a near-unanimous vote, Austin ISD trustees appointed Yasmin Wagner to serve as District 7 trustee for the next 14 months.
The position became vacant earlier this year after the death of incumbent Robert Schneider (see "AISD Trustee Passes", July 28). Rather than call a special election this November, the board ended up settling on an appointment process. Two candidates applied: Wagner, a member of the AISD Boundary Advisory Committee who ran unsuccessfully against Schneider last year, and Community Bond Oversight Committee member Dale Sump.
Wagner had emerged as an early leader in the process. However, trustees have commented that Sump was an extremely strong candidate, and the decision became more complicated as time went on. Ultimately, the decision came down to Wagner's more intimate knowledge of the area's campuses, and her stronger communications skills (not a surprise on the latter, as she is currently a corporate manager at the city of Austin's Communications and Public Information Office).
The final board vote was 8-0 to appoint her, with Board Secretary Jayme Mathias abstaining. However, he quickly issued a press statement that he was "pleased to report" her appointment, and asked recipients of his email blast to "please join me in welcoming the newest member of our AISD Board of Trustees." He did not address his abstention directly, but made more oblique references to his concerns about the push for a new South high school. The money to purchase land was approved in the 2008 bond election, and residents of District 7 have voiced frustration that no location has been picked. However, Mathias said he was concentrating on declining districtwide high school enrollment, and the fact that building the campus will require a second, larger bond.
Wagner will now hold the seat until next November, when the post will go on the regular ballot. In a previous statement, she has already heavily implied that she will run as an incumbent.