The Denton school district has formally canceled the May 10 school board elections since there are no contested races in the district.
Place 6 incumbent Jim Alexander and Place 7 candidate Dorothy Martinez drew no opponents for the nonpartisan election and there are no other issues on the ballot. The cancellation will save the district more than $30,000, officials said.
“I was a little bit surprised that we didn’t have contested races,” said board President Charles Stafford, “but Dr. Alexander has run unopposed several times. I can only assume that the public thinks he’s done a good enough job that no one has run against him. Dorothy Martinez is extremely well-qualified. I can sure understand why no one decided to run against Dorothy.”
Alexander, 67, has served on the school board since 1993. The Texas Woman’s University professor said he filed for re-election because he enjoys serving and is happy to do it. He said he looks forward to continuing the work the school board is currently doing and pursuing the goals set by current trustees including handling the district’s enrollment growth.
“I am truly looking forward to serving another term on the board,” Alexander said.
He said he looks forward to the election process but says the fact that neither he nor Martinez drew an opponent is a significant savings to the district.
“I very much respect the election process ... and it’s important that all of us hold our positions subject to election, and if it turned out this way, I’m certainly not unhappy, but I would have been happy to have had an opponent,” Alexander said. “We would have done that as well, but it’s very pleasant to find that you don’t have an opponent at the end of the filing period, that’s for sure.”
Martinez, 74, will soon fill a seat being vacated by Trustee Rudy Rodriguez, who said he will step down in May. After six years, Rodriguez said he wanted to spend more time with his family.
Martinez is a retired educator who worked in both the Denton and Dallas school districts. She said rapid enrollment growth in Denton is of interest to her. Martinez said she filed to run for the school board because she doesn’t want the Denton school district “to end up like Dallas.”
Martinez suggests the district should form a committee “that will control growth in a positive way.”
“If it needs to be divided to where people oversee a closer amount of buildings, then that needs to be done,” she said. “Whatever needs to be done, we need to do, and we need to do it now before it gets too big.”
Denton needs to also continue traveling to Austin to lobby legislators for more state funding for public education, Martinez said.
“We need our teachers better prepared,” she said. “We need them better paid, and we need our kids better taken care of. The buildings in this district are the most important thing in here ... and the people that run them and that are there. That’s my true love, and that’s how it’s always been.”
Stafford said issues currently before the school board include dealing with special populations, including children who are learning English and children living in poverty; planning for the continued growth, which is expected to bring about 1,000 new schoolchildren annually; and ensuring public schools receive the necessary state funding to operate.
He said he expects that Alexander “will continue to do an excellent job” and Martinez’s experience as an educator in both Denton and Dallas brings a “very important perspective to the board.”
BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter @BritneyTabor.