There are only two spots up for grabs in the race for Frisco School Board. Trustee John Classe, who serves as president, is unopposed in Place 6. Two new candidates are running for a seat at the table in Place 7.
Memorial High School is one of four new schools slated to open this August after sitting empty for a year. Frisco Independent School District voters approved the bond issue to build them to fix overcrowding, but rejected a property tax hike in 2016 that would have paid to staff them.
New school board candidate Linda McConnell voted against that tax increase.
“You see, the sky didn't fall and we have an amazing budget in our ISD,” said McConnell on Monday, ahead of the May 5 race.
She believes the money was already there and could have been better managed. As a former PTA president in the district, she said she's just a parent on a mission to provide quality education, while saving taxpayer dollars.
"I'm the best candidate because I saw firsthand what's actually happening in our schools for two straight years,” McConnell said.
Her opponent René Archambault has spent 15 years working in education administration. She's written STEM curriculum and currently runs a graduate program at Southern Methodist University.
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"I just feel that when you are putting yourself out there to be one of seven votes for the direction of a district that you need to have a deep understanding of how that district operates and so that's what I've been doing to prepare for this run,” Archambault said.
Archambault said she wants to be an advocate for teachers and wants to help hire more of them.
"My desire to run to to help them in a bigger and more intentional way,” she said.
Like McConnell, she would also like to see a more transparent process.
Both candidates said they want to improve communication so voters have a better idea about bond and tax issues going forward.
As for the school openings, Frisco ISD delayed them by a year. The buildings were originally supposed to open in August 2017. It’s time Trustee Classe said allowed them to "catch up” with other budget cuts and more state funding from growing enrollment. In the meantime, they increased class sizes, saving the district millions of dollars.
The money is now being spent to hire new teachers for fall.
Early voting ends Tuesday. Polls open Saturday, May 5.