ROUND ROCK, Texas - A Political Action Committee (PAC) of five conservative candidates are running to take over the majority of the Round Rock ISD Board of Trustees. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are backing them.
The Travis County Democratic Party said this can’t go unchallenged in such a critical race.
Although non-partisan positions, school board races seem to have become a battleground. These volunteer positions are drawing a lot of attention in Round Rock.
"A lot is on the line," Travis County Democratic Party Chair Katie Naranjo said.
A slate of five people, under the name "One Family Round Rock" is running to unseat Dr. Kevin Johnson, Amber Feller, Cory Vessa, Amy Weir, and Tiffanie Harrison.
"I’m really fed up with how the incumbents have been indoctrinating our children instead of preparing our children for the future through academic accomplishment," Round Rock ISD Board of Trustees Place 6 Candidate Don Zimmerman said.
Former Austin City Council Member Zimmerman said it’s crucial to win together to fix problems. He said their priorities are student safety, parental rights, using tax dollars efficiently, and returning to academic fundamentals.
"We’ve never seen more radical experiments and out of the norm things being done on the taxpayer dime to our children than in recent years, so I think the people have had enough, and we’ve seen the politicization at the local level and yeah, the money is starting to follow that," Travis County Republican Party Communications Director Andy Hogue said.
The PAC has raised a total of almost $300,000. Don Zimmerman with the most at $63,792.93 followed by Orlando Salinas with $60,016.93 and Christie Slape with $59,488.62.
A Political Action Committee (PAC) of five conservative candidates are running to take over the majority of the Round Rock ISD Board of Trustees. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are backing them.
"Everything is more expensive this year, so it’s going to cost more to begin with, but in terms of the massive cash flow we’ve seen from PACs and other organizations, I think it just shows that there’s an interest in defending our schools that wasn’t there before," Hogue said.
The only candidate who comes close to the "One Family" PAC fundraising dollars is Place 6 Incumbent Tiffanie Harrison with $59,394.23. The rest of the candidates raised between $1,000 and $18,000.
"Coming into this race, I knew that money would be an influence and I took fundraising personally very seriously," Harrison said. "These are not people that have good intentions for each and every student in Round Rock ISD."
She said her campaign slogan is "Equity, transparency, and community." She said it’s centered around students and the student experience.
"You can’t say I care about the achievement gap, and I’m concerned about the low achievement of Black and Hispanic students but also at the same bend, broadly try to ban things you see as ‘wokism’ or CRT," Harrison said.
Here is a look at other campaign funds in the race for a seat of Round Rock ISD Board of Trustees.
The Travis County Democratic Party endorses Harrison and has issued negative recommendations of two PAC members, Orlando Salinas and Christie Slape.
"When you have somebody pouring in hundreds of thousands of dollars to teach hate and racism and bigotry and anti-science, anti-healthcare to put those values into our education system, we were not going to allow that to go unchallenged," Naranjo said.
Harrison said she wants to make school board boring again, where parents who work 9 to 5 can run and not have to spend thousands to win.
Zimmerman said if the PAC wins, they’ll restructure the board and stop ripping off taxpayers by not using the money wisely.
Election day is November 8.