North Texas

Justin Henry Unseats Incumbent for Place on Dallas ISD Board of Trustees

Primary runoff elections were held across North Texas Saturday

Dallas voters chose the school board candidate in favor of a property tax increase, a Duncanville City Council race was decided by just one vote and the election for a place on the Grapevine-Colleyville ISD school board generated higher turnout than any race in North Texas Saturday.

Dallas ISD Board of Trustees, District 9
Justin Henry defeated incumbent Bernadette Nutall for a place on the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees, taking 67.7 percent of the vote.

Henry supported a 13-cent property tax increase that Nutall opposed.

The state of Texas classifies Dallas as a property-rich district under its "Robin Hood" school funding formula. That means Dallas ISD is required to share funds with poorer school districts.

That number for next year? $64 million.

"It allows us to put (the tax increase) before the voters and give them an opportunity and a choice if they want to put more of our money into the public schools," said Henry, an attorney and former teacher. "I think the city has shown that it’s committed to our public schools."

The school board itself cannot impose the tax increase. However, it can vote for the issue to be on a ballot, at which point it is likely to pass.

"Most tax increases that go before voters actually succeed. But DISD has been blocked," SMU political science expert Cal Jillson said. "DISD has tried for the last three years to raise taxes on homeowners to improve the schools."

Nutall received 31 percent of the vote in the May 5 election, while Henry received 47 percent. A candidate needs to earn 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff.

Irving City Council, Place 6
The race for Irving's City Council Place 6 seat wound up in a a primary runoff because an ineligible candidate was on the ballot during the May 5 election. The seat covers the city's northernmost district.

Saturday, Albert Zanpata earned 52.2 percent of the vote to defeat Shayan Elahi and win the seat.

According to NBC 5's media partner, The Dallas Morning News, the City of Irving ruled that Shamima Mondal was ineligible to run after it could not verify more than half the signatures on her petition for candidacy. Irving requires 25 signatures, and records obtained by The Dallas Morning News show that the city only verified 17 of the 38 signatures on Mondal's petition.

Under Texas election code, a candidate can challenge another candidate's petition for candidacy through March 20, but under Dallas County election guidelines, a candidate cannot be removed from a ballot after Feb. 23.

The seat's southern boundary runs along State Highway 114 from the city's western border to MacArthur Boulevard. From there the district line runs north along MacArthur to President George Bush Turnpike, which it follows to Irving's eastern border.

Flower Mound Mayor
In Flower Mound, two candidates were separated by just 10 votes in their bids to replace Mayor Tom Hayden, who is finishing the second of two consecutive terms. The town charter says a mayor cannot serve more than two straight terms in the position.

Steve Dixon topped Cathy Strathmann with 52.8 percent of the vote to become the town's next mayor.

"It's good to have somebody that has leadership abilities that's a business owner, been around for along time," said Dixon, who previously served three terms on the Flower Mound Town Council. "That has historical information and value to add to the new folks who serve on council."

The runoff marked the first in a Flower Mound mayor's race in 26 years.

The race that sparked the most voter turnout Saturday was a race for the school board in Grapevine-Colleyville ISD. More than 6,000 residents voted and reelected Becky St. John to the seat. She received 3,957 votes to her opponent, Amy Putnam's, 2,235.

And if there was ever a question that every vote counts, Mark Cooks defeated Jeff Burton 265-264 to win a race for Duncanville City Council.

Click here for updated results in all the North Texas races.

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