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Dallas Independent School District elections (2014)

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2014 Dallas Independent School District Elections

General Election date:
May 10, 2014
Table of Contents
About the district
Method of election
What was at stake?
Key deadlines
Additional elections
External links
See also
Dallas Independent School District
Dallas County, Texas ballot measures
Local ballot measures, Texas
Flag of Texas.png

Three seats on the Dallas Board of Trustees were up for general election on May 10, 2014. Incumbent Mike Morath won re-election without opposition for the District 2 seat. Newcomers Joyce Foreman and Bertha Bailey Whatley advanced to a runoff election on June 21, 2014 to replace Carla Ranger in District 6. Foreman and Whatley did not receive 50 percent of the vote in the general election but Foreman easily won election in the runoff race. Miguel Solis won re-election against challengers Kristi Lara and Richard P. Sheridan in the District 8 race.[1]

The 2014 board election coincided with an effort to turn Dallas Independent School District into a home-rule district. A state law passed in 1995 allows school districts to create home-rule charters if they gain enough support from local voters. A home-rule charter provides more local control for a district and allows a district to develop its own curriculum standards, school calendars and teacher salaries. Support Our Public Schools is a local group that gathered petitions to get the home-rule charter on the ballot in November 2014. The group is supported by District 2 incumbent Mike Morath, led by current board member Wilton Hollins and receives funds from former hedge fund manager John Arnold.

Opponents of the home-rule effort include board members Lew Blackburn, Carla Ranger and Bernadette Nutall, who have expressed concerns about the impacts of a new charter on minority groups in the district. Alliance-AFT, the teachers' union in Dallas, criticizes the home-rule movement as an effort to weaken public schools. Supporters of the home-rule charter needed to submit 24,459 petitions from district residents, lobby a 15-member charter commission created by the board and receive a simple majority of votes if the charter reaches the ballot to achieve their goal. The group's petition drive submitted enough valid signatures in late May 2014 to require the appointment of a charter commission at a school board meeting on June 19, 2014.[2][3][4][5]

See also: What was at stake in the Dallas Independent School District election?

About the district

See also: Dallas Independent School District, Texas
Dallas Independent School District is located in Dallas County, Texas
Dallas Independent School District is located in Dallas, the county seat of Dallas County, Texas. According to the United States Census Bureau, Dallas is home to 1,241,162 residents.[6] Dallas Independent School District is the second-largest school district in Texas, serving 157,575 students during the 2011-2012 school year.[7]

Academic performance

Dallas Independent School District received a Met Standard designation from the Texas Education Agency in the state's 2013 accountability report. District schools met 91 percent of indicators established by state officials to measure academic progress. The district also surpassed target scores for student achievement, student progress, closing performance gaps and postsecondary readiness.[8]


Dallas Independent School District's total budget for the 2013-2014 school year was $1.2 billion. This was the second-largest operating budget for any school district in Texas behind Houston Independent School District. The district spent 69.8 percent of its budget on staff expenses, 19.7 percent on operational expenses, 10.1 percent on student services, 0.2 percent on debt service and 0.2 percent on miscellaneous expenses.[9]


Dallas outperformed the rest of Texas in terms of higher education achievement in 2010. The United States Census Bureau found that 29.0 percent of Dallas residents aged 25 years and older had attained a bachelor's degree compared to 26.3 percent for Texas as a whole. The median household income in Dallas was $42,436 compared to $51,563 for the state of Texas. The poverty rate in Dallas was 23.6 percent compared to 17.4 percent for the entire state.[6]

Racial Demographics, 2010[6]
Race Dallas (%) Texas (%)
White 50.7 70.4
Black or African American 25.0 11.8
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.7 0.7
Asian 2.9 3.8
Two or More Races 2.6 2.7
Hispanic or Latino 42.4 37.6

Presidential votes, 2000-2012[10]
Year Democratic vote (%) Republican vote (%)
2012 57.1 41.6
2008 57.1 41.8
2004 48.9 50.3
2000 44.8 52.5

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100 percent. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one or two tenths off from being exactly 100 percent.[11] This Ballotpedia page provides a more detailed explanation of how the Census Bureau handles race and ethnicity in its surveys.

Method of board member selection

The Dallas Board of Trustees consists of nine members elected by district to three-year terms. There was no primary election and a general election took place on May 10, 2014. Three seats are up for election every May. Seats in Districts 1, 3 and 9 will be on the ballot in 2015 while Districts 4, 5 and 7 will be up for election in 2016.[12]

Candidates for the Board of Trustees submitted paperwork with the school district secretary by February 28, 2014. Each candidate must be at least 18 years old, a registered voter and a resident of the district for at least six months. Members file their pre-election and post-election campaign finance reports with the district clerk unless they have not received or spent $500 during the campaign.[13]

The last day for district residents to register to vote for the May 10, 2014 election was April 10, 2014. Voters could submit applications for mailed ballots to the county elections office through May 1, 2014.[14] The county also administered early voting at 12 locations in Dallas from April 28, 2014 to May 6, 2014.[15]




  • Mike Morath Green check mark transparent.png
    • Incumbent
    • Graduate, George Washington University
    • Former president, Minute Menu Systems

Note: Matthew Barnebey withdrew from the race on February 14.[16] Sabrina Martinez Harrison withdrew from the race on March 3.[17]

Dallas Independent School District map.jpg

Election results

Runoff election
Dallas Independent School District, District 6 Runoff Election, 3-year term, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJoyce Foreman 65.2% 1,588
     Nonpartisan Bertha Bailey Whatley 34.8% 848
Total Votes 2,436
Source: Dallas County Elections, "Unofficial Combined Election Results," June 21, 2014
General election
Dallas Independent School District, District 6 General Election, 3-year term, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngBertha Bailey Whatley 41.3% 974
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJoyce Foreman 36.4% 858
     Nonpartisan Lew Blackburn, Jr. 12.8% 301
     Nonpartisan Carlos Sherman 5.1% 120
     Nonpartisan D. Marcus Ranger 4.4% 104
Total Votes 2,357
Source: Dallas County Elections, "Unofficial Cumulative Results," May 10, 2014

Dallas Independent School District, District 8 General Election, 3-year term, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngMiguel Solis Incumbent 68.1% 515
     Nonpartisan Kristi Lara 23.5% 178
     Nonpartisan Richard P. Sheridan 8.3% 63
Total Votes 756
Source: Dallas County Elections, "Unofficial Cumulative Results," May 10, 2014

Note: Mike Morath won re-election in District 2 without opposition when he faced no opposition by the ballot deadline. Joyce Foreman and Bertha Bailey Whatley advanced to a June 21, 2014 runoff election for the District 6 seat.


Educate Dallas, a political action committee run by the Dallas Regional Chamber, endorsed Mike Morath, Bertha Bailey Whatley and Miguel Solis on March 5, 2014.[18] Dallas Kids First PAC endorsed Whatley and Solis on March 19, 2014.[19] The Dallas Morning News also endorsed Whatley and Solis on April 27, 2014.[20] Whatley's opponent, Joyce Foreman, received the endorsement of outgoing District 6 trustee Carla Ranger prior to the runoff election.[21]

Campaign finance

Candidates received a total of $102,341.75 and spent a total of $9,629.62 prior to the election, according to the district office.[22]

In the District 2 race, candidates raised a total of $58,969.70 and spent a total of $342.01.

Candidate Contributions Expenditures Cash on hand
Sabrina Martinez Harrison $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Mike Morath $58,969.70 $342.01 $58,627.69

In the District 6 race, candidates raised a total of $21,710.95 and spent a total of $3,977.57.

Candidate Contributions Expenditures Cash on hand
Lew Blackburn, Jr. $1,250.00 $221.38 $1,028.62
Joyce Foreman $3,650.00 $3,113.91 $536.09
D. Marcus Ranger $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Carlos Sherman $1,810.95 $451.30 $1,359.65
Bertha Bailey Whatley $15,000.00 $190.98 $14,809.02

In the District 8 race, candidates raised a total of $21,661.10 and spent a total of $5,310.04.

Candidate Contributions Expenditures Cash on hand
Kristi Lara $1,523.00 $481.08 $1,041.92
Richard P. Sheridan $40.00 $73.88 -$33.88
Miguel Solis $20,098.10 $4,755.08 $40,997.86

Past elections

What was at stake?

Issues in the district

Home-rule effort by Support Our Public Schools

Volunteers with a local group called Support Our Public Schools circulated petitions starting on March 4, 2014, to turn the district into a home-rule district. A state law passed in 1995 allows local residents to replace their existing district structure with a home-rule charter. This charter could bypass some state regulations including minimum salary schedules for teachers, curriculum standards and the number of days in a school year. Support Our Public Schools is a group funded by former hedge fund manager John Arnold and several anonymous donors through his non-profit organization, Action Now Initiative. Arnold worked with local officials including board member Mike Morath to form the group due to concerns about the district's record of academic performance. Morath supports Support Our Public Schools but does not serve on the group's board.[23] The organization initially hoped to complete the entire process in time for the gubernatorial election on November 4, 2014, but did not succeed in moving that quickly.[24] If successful, Dallas Independent School District would be the first school district in Texas to use the home-rule charter process.[2]

Support Our Public Schools submitted more than 48,000 petitions to district officials in mid-May 2014. District officials certified that enough valid signatures were submitted to proceed to the next step in the process in late May 2014.[4][25] The group had to gather at least 24,459 valid signatures or five percent of registered voters in the district to force the creation of a charter commission by the school board. School board members appointed 15 members to the charter commission during a meeting on June 19, 2014.[5]

Each member of the board is a resident of the district, four board members are teachers and the entire board is designed to reflect the district's demographic makeup. Two members of the commission were selected by the entire board, four educators were selected by an advisory panel and each trustee selected one commission member. D. Marcus Ranger, the husband of outgoing trustee Carla Ranger, and Lew Blackburn, Jr., the son of current trustee Lew Blackburn, Sr., were appointed to the commission. The state's home-rule charter law does not restrict spouses or relatives of current board members from serving on commissions. Commission members have until June 2015 to develop a home-rule charter for the district. If approved by the Texas Commissioner of Education, voters would approve or reject the charter at the polls. State law requires a simple majority and at least 25% of registered voters to cast ballots in the charter election.[2] The following table details the charter commission including how they were appointed:[5]

Charter commission[5]
Member Appointed by
Bob Weiss Entire board
Stephanie Elizalde Entire board
Melissa Malonson District 1 trustee Elizabeth Jones
Edwin Flores District 2 trustee Mike Morath
Jeff Veazey District 3 trustee Dan Micciche
Ricardo Mendez District 4 trustee Nancy Bingham
Lew Blackburn, Jr. District 5 trustee Lew Blackburn Sr.
D. Marcus Ranger District 6 trustee Carla Ranger
Jerome Garza District 7 trustee Eric Cowan
Danae Gutierrez District 8 trustee Miguel Solis
Shirley Ison-Newsome District 9 trustee Bernadette Nutall
Isaac Freeman Advisory panel
Ron Oliver Advisory panel
Bonita Reece Advisory panel
Julie Sandel Advisory panel

Local officials and advocates debated the group's efforts during the petition drive. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings supports the effort in order to bring change to the district while board members Lew Blackburn and Bernadette Nutall have questioned the motivations of Support Our Public Schools. Superintendent Mike Miles believes the home-rule effort is unnecessary as the district has initiated necessary reforms within state education policies.[26] Alliance-AFT president Rena Honea argues that this effort is "part of a plan to underfund our schools, declare them a failure, and contract out to private operators the control of our neighborhood schools, disenfranchising parents and community stakeholders and de-professionalizing teaching."[2][27]

Mark Melton, a local attorney and charter supporter, published a seven-page constitution in May 2014 intended to guide the charter commission. This constitution developed by Melton and four colleagues would leave the district largely unchanged. The document proposes a three-term limit on all board members, a provision for recalling board members and an earlier start date for district schools. Melton's proposal would allow a recall election to take place if 15 percent of residents in a trustee district signed petitions. He offered the proposals as a reaction to the rancorous debate taking place between Support Our Public Schools volunteers and some district residents.[25]

Investigation into superintendent legal bills

In late 2013, the Board of Trustees solicited legal opinions regarding legal fees accrued by Superintendent Mike Miles during an investigation into a contract awarded earlier in the year. Miles was billed $18,143 by law firm Adams, Lynch and Loftin for representation during a hearing by arbitrator Paul Coggins in July 2013. The district paid the superintendent's legal fees due to a clause in his contract that covers fees for legal proceedings. The board heard legal opinions during a February 13, 2014 meeting to determine if reimbursement was appropriate for an internal investigation. Coggins did not find any wrongdoing by Miles in awarding contracts but determined that Miles talked to witnesses throughout the investigation. The final report by Coggins also found that Miles helped write a resignation letter for a former district official that criticized the Board of Trustees. Miles was given a 90-day employee improvement period and a letter of reprimand after the hearing.[28]

Key deadlines

The following dates were key deadlines for the Dallas Independent School District election in 2014:[29]

Deadline Event
January 29, 2014 First day to file paperwork for ballot placement
February 28, 2014 Last day to file paperwork for ballot placement
April 10, 2014 Last day for voter registration with county clerk
April 28, 2014 First day of early voting
May 1, 2014 Last day to request mailed ballot from county clerk
May 6, 2014 Last day of early voting
May 10, 2014 Election day

Additional elections on the ballot

No other local elections appeared on the ballot on May 10, 2014.

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Dallas + Independent + School + District"

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Dallas Independent School District News Feed

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See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. Dallas Morning News, "Dallas ISD election: Whatley and Foreman off to a runoff; Solis easily keeps seat," May 10, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Dallas Morning News, "Group pushes for election to remake Dallas ISD as freer home-rule district," March 2, 2014
  3. Dallas Morning News, "Superintendent Mike Miles: Home rule not key to a better Dallas ISD," March 19, 2014
  4. 4.0 4.1 Dallas Morning News, "Dallas ISD trustees struggle with how to form home-rule commission," May 30, 2014
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Dallas Morning News, "Dallas ISD trustees name 15-member commission to write home-rule charter," June 20, 2014
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 United States Census Bureau, "Dallas, Texas," accessed February 12, 2014
  7. National Center for Education Statistics, "ELSI Table Generator," accessed May 1, 2014
  8. Dallas Independent School District, "Accountability Summary 2013," accessed February 12, 2014
  9. Dallas Independent School District, "Dallas ISD Budget," accessed April 25, 2014
  10. Dallas County Elections, "Historical Election Results," accessed February 12, 2014
  11. United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
  12. Dallas Independent School District, "Policy: Elections," July 20, 2011
  13. Dallas Independent School District, "Policy: Eligibility/Qualifications," October 19, 2011
  14. Dallas County Elections, "Upcoming Election Info," accessed April 28, 2014
  15. Dallas County Elections, "Early Voting Locations," accessed April 28, 2014
  16. Dallas Independent School District, "Certificate of Withdrawal," February 14, 2014
  17. Dallas Independent School District, "Certificate of Withdrawal," accessed March 3, 2014
  18. Dallas Morning News, "Educate Dallas endorses Dallas ISD school board candidates in May election," March 5, 2014
  19. Dallas Morning News, "Dallas Kids First PAC makes endorsements in Dallas ISD races," March 19, 2014
  20. The Dallas Morning News, "Editorial: We recommend these five candidates in May 10 local races," April 27, 2014
  21. Dallas Morning News, "Joyce Foreman defeats Bertha Bailey Whatley to win Dallas ISD District 6 race," June 21, 2014
  22. Dallas Independent School District, "Campaign Finance Reports," accessed April 14, 2014
  23. Dallas Morning News, "Dallas ISD trustee Mike Morath explains his role in home-rule group," March 10, 2014
  24. KERA News, "Dallas Home-Rule Charter Won't Be On Fall Ballot," August 5, 2014
  25. 25.0 25.1 Dallas Morning News, "Dallas attorney Mark Melton’s group releases proposed home-rule charter for Dallas ISD," May 21, 2014
  26. Dallas Morning News, "Superintendent Mike Miles: Home rule not key to a better Dallas ISD," March 19, 2014
  27. "Dallas Observer," "Dallas ISD Trustees Are Skeptical of Shadowy Home-Rule District Push," March 4, 2014
  28. Dallas Morning News, "Dallas ISD pays superintendent’s legal bill in investigation," February 10, 2014
  29. Dallas Independent School District, "Notice of Elections," accessed February 13, 2014