Round Rock ISD board censure vote fails

Members of the Round Rock ISD school board aired out bad feelings against each other Thursday. 

The discussion, which lasted until early Friday morning, was on Trustee Amy Weir's motions to censure fellow members Mary Bone and Danielle Weston.

"This is obviously just political theater," said Trustee Bone.

The two Trustees broke quorum during a June board meeting.

"This is strictly about bad behavior, inappropriate and unprofessional bad behavior that needs to be addressed by this board as a body corporate," said Trustee Weir.

The action in June by the two trustees only delayed a vote on the school budget. The deadline to set a budget was two weeks away.

"You guys are biased against me, it doesn't matter what I say," said Bone.

Bone and Weston indicated they believe the motivation for the censure was personal and political. 

"What is going on here is so outrageous that one wonders if it’s a comedic parody you can't make this stuff up," said Trustee Weston.

The infighting within the Round Rock ISD board has been going on for more than a year. A COVID mask mandate and a controversy involving the superintendent intensified the situation. 

But Thursday night even parents, who long ago chose sides, appeared tired of the bickering. 

"It’s uncalled-for, its ridiculous what you guys have done, so you guys have got to look in the mirror and quit going after these two," said one parent to members supporting the censure motion.

Another parent had similar feelings, but directed her comments toward Bone and Weston. 

"So people need to stop this nonsense, for the lack of a better term, and look in the mirror," said a parent who spoke online.

Weston and Bone claim they broke quorum only because they thought Weir, who had tested positive for COVID, was going to attend the meeting. That explanation had Trustee Cory Vessa making what seemed like a cease fire offer.

"I am trying to give you guys an out here. I’m trying to give out an out. To say I’m sorry," said Vessa.


Bone and Weston said they have apologized for walking out before making sure what would later happen. Bone however disagreed with the argument that leaving the June budget meeting put the district in jeopardy. Both motions to censure failed on a split 3-3 vote. Trustee Kevin Johnson abstained.

"I just hope election withstanding that we find a way that we get back to being that model and find a way to work it out with each other," said Johnson.

Five of the board seats are on the November ballot. Political analyst Brian Smith, with St. Edward's University noted how bitter school board fights have increased recently and could increase voter turnout in November.

"When we think about schools now, they are on the front lines of all the biggest issues of the day, COVID, gun control, curriculum, issues involving free speech, equality, justice, and censorship. School boards are in school districts. That's where most of our taxes go. So when we talk about affordability and how much we pay in taxes, it's going to the school district. So there's the idea of accountability. Plus, all of these social and political issues are now at the school board level. And this is why we're seeing so many battles nationwide and here in Texas," said Smith. 

Censure motions typically have little teeth to them. The two trustees did a similar walk out back in September and an attempt to punish them for that resulted in a court fight.