Race Debate Continues For Irving School Board

IRVING (CBSDFW.COM) – On the day the nation honored Dr. Martin Luther King, a serious debate over race in the Irving Independent School District had the school board looking for middle ground.

“I determined in my own mind that 5-2 was a good compromise,” said trustee Jerry Christian.

Christian was one of six trustees who voted last week to establish five single-member districts in Irving, while setting aside two spots for at-large candidates.

The vote sparked outrage, threats of a law suit and classroom protests by Anthony Bond of the Irving Educational Coalition. “If 90 percent of the school kids were white and we had an all-black school board, the white people would be doing the same thing,” said Bond.

Single-member districts mean that candidates need only compete for votes in the district they’re running in. Roughly 85 percent of students in Irving are minorities. By dividing up districts, the goal is to encourage minority candidates to run in minority-dominated districts.

Bond and a handful of other minority activists want Irving sliced up into seven single-member districts, not five. By doing so, Bond says it almost guarantees that six of the seven districts would favor minority candidates.

“These white people have been in control for over 103 years,” said Bond. “Four minority members in 103 years? That’s unacceptable.”

Trustee Christian says a 5-2 system allows all voters in Irving to have a say in at least two seats.

“If you go to a seven single-member district plan, the voters only get to vote once every three years in school board elections,” said Christian. “If you set up a 5-2 plan, almost all the voters get to vote two out of three years,” he added.

Trustees, Valerie Jones and Ronda Huftstetler also favored seven districts, but voted for a 5-2 system, rather than have no districts at all.

“I understand the Hispanic and African-American members of our community who look at this current board and ask who is representing my view point,” Jones said at last Thursday’s board meeting.

The debate is likely rage on for several months. The proposed five-district map must first be approved by the U.S. Justice Department. That is likely to take at least 60 days, so any changes to the election process will not take effect until May 2013.


One Comment

  1. J. L Armstrong says:

    I am a voting Irving resident since 1964. Irving was white until many illegal Hispanic families started flocking in. If you check the voting records as to what race actually voted, you will see why there are only whites on the board. When the illegal’s children born here are eligible to vote, things might be different. Personally, I feel all races should be represented as Irving has a large population of Asians and Arabs not just Hispanics, Caucasians and African Americans.

  2. May says:

    I understand the complaint about minorities not having a face in offices but we don’t want it to become all about the Latino face being represented I say this because that’s mainly the issue watching the news this morning I guess they felt like they had to put the Latino face on strong this morning because of this issue but that shouldn’t happen all races needs to be represented. The whole cast on… CBS was Latino and that’s not showing equality. There’s alot of not being equal within the Latino society as well not to get of the subject. To make a change you need to take a good look at oneself and race and make changes so we won’t make the same misstakes and do the same thing that we believe others are doing to wrong us.

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