Election results: New trustee and RISD’s need to ‘mend fences’

Election results are in: Karen Clardy is RISD’s newest trustee

Dr. Kristin Kuhne was re-elected to the Richardson ISD school board Saturday, but the vote count indicates trustees have work to do in Lake Highlands mending fences. Though Lake Highlands challenger Lynn Davenport lost the election, she won every precinct in the LH feeder pattern save two – Hamilton Park and Moss Haven. Davenport’s change message earned votes throughout the district and kept the tally close. Kuhne collected 54% (6,100) of 11,209 votes cast.

At candidate forums and on social media, Davenport focused on teacher turnover rates, near 20% for the past 2 years, and the district’s academic performance. RISD’s ranking in 2016 dropped to 348th of 932 Texas school districts (down from 110th in 2009), and five RISD schools are on TEA’s current PEG (low-performing) list, most in LH.

Kuhne defended her first term on the board, touting gains during her 3-year tenure and noting that teacher retention is slowly improving. The district was recognized as a 2016 Honor Roll District based on academic achievement and reduction in performance gaps among ethnic minorities, and Kuhne backed RISD programs to help students graduate with college credit or professional certificates. Kuhne was supported by current and former trustees, who actively campaigned on her behalf.

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New to the board will be Karen Clardy – but she’s hardly new to RISD.

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The retired LHHS executive assistant shocked many who playfully placed bets on which businessman she would face in certain runoff. Instead Clardy earned 55% on the first ballot – 5,748 of 10,460 total votes.

“I’ve seen programs come, and I’ve seen programs go,” Clardy said at one candidate forum. “I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t.” She’s the first trustee to shift from campus building to administration building, and she brings those connections, built from years of working with teachers, staff and administrators all over the district, with her.

In RISD, every trustee represents every quadrant of the district. Three now live in LH – Clardy, Justin Bono and Jean Bono, three in Pearce – Kuhne, Caston and Patterson, and one in Berkner – Eron Linn.

Board members Clardy, Kuhne and Bono, unopposed in his race, will be sworn in at the school board work session Monday, May 15 at 6 p.m. in the RISD Administration Building auditorium, 400 S. Greenville Avenue. The public is invited.

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