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Richardson ISD Residents Concerned About School Board Voting

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Bud Gillett
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LAKE HIGHLANDS (CBS 11 NEWS) – As the last hours of early voting wound down Tuesday, Christina Hughes Babb echoed concern from fellow Lake Highlands residents. “It’s a low turnout altogether for the election, I think, about 12-percent of the registered voters show up,” she said.

Babb, who edits and publishes the Lake Highlands Advocate, believes only 2-pervent of that 12 percent are Dallas voters. “Specifically from Lake Highlands residents who are part of the Richardson Independent School District is especially low.”

The Richardson ISD spans through three cities. Sixty-percent are in Dallas, 35-perent in Richardson, and 5-percent in Garland. This year the list of school board candidates seem just as vast.

At least two candidates have turned to phone banks or robo-calls to drum up attention. This year two long-serving members with collectively 25 years’ experience are stepping down and there’s competition to fill the void.

Justin Bobo and Rachel Chumney are vying for Place 6. Kristin Kuhne, Judy Yarborough, and Bonnie Abadie are battling for Place 7. All are at-large seats.

Last year, in a similar school board election, a mere 4,500 voters decided the outcome. “And that’s out of a footprint of about 224,000 people, so as a percentage it’s very low,” explained RISD Communications Director Tim Clark.

Clark says the district’s superintendent sent out an e-mail last week urging employees who live in the district to get informed on the candidates and vote.

But Shelby James — an area realtor with Allie Beth Allman and a precinct judge and election chair — doesn’t think there’s Dallas indifference.

“Lake Highlands is a strong knit community that is very involved with what’s going on. So, I disagree with the fact that that might be an issue,” he told CBS 11 News, adding that he feels the time of year is a bigger factor. “Any time we have an election on a Saturday, voter turnout tends to be really low. Specifically this year with it being Mother’s Day weekend, a lot of families have already made plans.”

Regardless of where you stand about the number James summed up his feelings. “I’d like to say please get out and remember how important it is to vote.’”

Voters get the final say Saturday.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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