Vanessa Pacheco won Saturday’s runoff and will join the RISD school board.

Voters in Southlake and some other neighboring school districts have opted to replace incumbents with anti-equity candidates backed by right-wing PACs. Richardson ISD constituents chose a different path in this election cycle.

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Vanessa Pacheco, running to serve in District 2 surrounding Berkner High School, defeated Sherry Clemens in Saturday’s runoff 58% to 42%. Turnout was relatively heavy for a runoff election, with a few more ballots cast (4,172) than in May’s regular election (4,120).

Clemens, who spent heavily during the runoff to distribute mailers falsely claiming that RISD educators teach Critical Race Theory (CRT) in district classrooms, added 32 votes to her tally.  Pacheco increased her total 44% from 1,681 to 2,418, perhaps picking up supporters of incumbent Eron Linn, who failed to earn a spot in the runoff. Linn chose not to endorse either candidate.

RISD’s board will be dramatically different from the all-white at-large board sued by former trustee David Tyson and attorney Bill Brewer in 2018. Tyson and Brewer alleged violations of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and their 2019 settlement led to RISD’s current 5-2 system of single member districts. With the election of Pacheco Saturday and Lake Highlands’ Rachel McGowen in May to RISD’s 7-person board, 2 are now Hispanic, 2 are Black and 3 are white. This mix more closely reflects the district’s student population of 38% Hispanic, 29% white and 22% African American.

In a runoff to represent District 1 on the Dallas College board, Dr. Catalina Garcia defeated Lake Highlands resident Lynn Davenport 64% to 36%.

“First, I’m grateful to the voters for the confidence that they’ve placed in me to fill this term,” Garcia said last night from her victory celebration. “We have so much to do for our Dallas County students. Education has been the cornerstone of my life. It has blessed me with a life that I have enjoyed. I am excited to get to work to give Dallas County students the education and possibilities to grow that they deserve. I will work with each and every person to make that vision a reality.”

Note: All vote tallies are preliminary and may be adjusted slightly as vote counts are finalized.