Cy-Fair Edition | October 2023

From the cover

Cy-Fair ISD board election to determine future district priorities

In a nutshell

political parties in a way never seen before,” he said. Issues covered at recent CFISD candidate forums include parental rights, school safety, mental health, diversity and inclusion, student discipline, teacher retention and pay, standardized test scores, state funding, library books, school choice, and unity on the board. See candidate Q&As on Pages 10-13.

interest from the Texas Legislature to adequately fund the state’s public school system. Board President Tom Jackson, who is not seeking re-election, said he saw this shift begin at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. “When the pandemic hit and the ensuing but predictable social unrest, trustees became bu†eted by political pressures from both

politicized in part because of issues dealing with ... gender equity, critical race theory and e†orts ... to return to a more traditional educational content,” said Bob Stein, a political science professor at Rice University. Stein said the increased politicization of school boards has included calls for review and banning of library materials, bills in support of vouchers, and little

There will be 11 candidates on the ballot Nov. 7 competing for one of four open seats on the Cy-Fair ISD board of trustees. Local experts said school board races have become more competitive and politicized in recent years. “Of course, as we all know, they’re [supposed to be] nonpartisan elections, but they have become

Meet the board

Position 1 Tom Jackson • Board president; board member since 2015 • Not seeking re-election

Position 2 Julie Hinaman • Board vice president;

Position 3 Gilbert Sarabia • Board secretary; board member since 2019 • Not seeking re-election

Position 4 Debbie Blackshear • Board member since 2015 • Not seeking re-election

Natalie Blasingame • Board member since 2021 • Will be up for re-election in 2025 Position 5

Scott Henry • Board member since 2021 • Will be up for re-election in 2025 Position 6

Lucas Scanlon • Board member since 2021 • Will be up for re-election in 2025 Position 7

board member since 2019

• Seeking



Looking back

Voter turnout trends

Cy-Fair ISD school board election turnout Countywide turnout for state and national races

increase the vote,” Lobberecht said. “Our goal has been not just register- ing people, but to get them ... to the polls.” Regarding recent trends in school board elections, Lobberecht said she believes the biggest change in the intensity and focus on school board elections has been how much money it now requires to run school board campaigns. “It really started in the last two years. That’s when you really saw outside underwriting of campaigns, but it’s also [part of] a national campaign that’s going on. If you look at the best way to change the direction of things, it starts in the local elections,” Lobberecht said.

Local school board races have his- torically been marked by low voter turnout, and fewer votes means the value of each ballot cast increases. The Harris County Clerk’s Oce reports countywide voter turnout since 2015 was as high as 68.14% in national and state races, but only 4.44%-16.41% of registered voters in CFISD voted in their school board races during that time. Marlene Lobberecht heads the Cy-Fair chapter of the League of Women Voters, a nonproŠt spread- ing the message that “democracy is not a spectator sport” by informing the public about candidates and registering voters. “We’ve worked really hard to















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Year (November election)



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