Spring Branch ISD Elections Heated as Attempt to Change Voting System Threatens Outcome
On May 1, 2021, Christopher Earnest won the SBISD Board of Trustees election with more votes than anyone in SBISD history. SBISD trustees are elected at-large, meaning all eligible voters of the community vote for all trustees. An activist group, led in part by Virginia Elizondo, is seeking to upset that historic practice.
Ms. Elizondo ran for the board unsuccessfully in 2015 and again in 2021. A few weeks after her defeat in the 2021 election, Elizondo filed suit against the district and the board of trustees, including Mr. Earnest personally, in federal court claiming violation of the Voting Rights Act, and alleging racially based and discriminatory election procedures. Elizondo is seeking to force the district to change to a single-member district system.
The board moved to delay the upcoming May 7th election to elect three new board members pending resolution of the suit but PIPEline, a local grass-roots parents’ group, persisted and the right to proceed with a regularly scheduled periodic election was preserved in federal court.
Expanding or changing the voting system to alter or “fix” the composition of a voting block is in some instances comparable to weighting the system in a candidate’s or a particular group’s favor. These are decisions best removed from the political arena and left to the courts. In this manner, we can remain focused on a fair election and in the case of a school board, serving the best interests of the children within the district. Doing otherwise sets a dangerous precedent. Stability and continuity are critical to continued local self-governance and ensuring that decisions impacting local schools continue to be made at the local level.
Early voting is in process. Formal election day is May 7, 2022, when three seats are on the ballot for election. Among the candidates are three proven, strong leaders with trusted voices in the community. Please research and support the candidate of your choice!
They have received widespread support and endorsement from elected officials including Texas Senator Paul Bettencourt, Commissioners Tom Ramsay, and Jack Cagle, State Board of Education Member Will Hickman, City Council Members Michael Kubosh, Mary Nan Huffman, Harris County Republican Party, and dozens of others.
Lisa Alpe, Position 5
Lisa Alpe was born and raised in Houston, Texas. She graduated from the University of Texas in 1994, graduated from South Texas College of Law in 1997 and is bilingual. After spending 11 years as a prosecutor for Harris County, she opened her own private law practice. Lisa is an active member of the Spring Branch ISD community and is a member of two PTAs and the MHS Booster Club. She was also a coach for youth sports teams in Spring Branch Memorial Sports Association (SBMSA). Lisa has been married for 20 years to Bruce Alpe, who retired from the FBI in 2019. They have three children who have all attended SBISD schools.
John Perez, Position 6
John Perez is a proud Houstonian and a graduate of Rice University. John graduated with a degree in chemical engineering in 1996 and obtained his MBA. John is a licensed professional engineer who owns and runs the Cognascents Consulting Group which is a process safety and asset integrity management consulting firm. John has lived in Spring Branch for 21 years with all of his children attending SBISD schools. He coached several of their SBMSA teams and served as the Scoutmaster for Troop 598. He is also active in supporting the Spring Branch FFA chapter, among other local community causes. Perez is married to his wife, Collette, and they look forward to celebrating their 21st year of marriage in June. John recently he put his name on the line in the Supreme Court of Texas to defend the SBISD taxpayers’ right to vote this May, gaining immediate name recognition. John Perez has distinguished himself as THE competitive candidate that can lead and manage the district with a fair, but firm hand and with every child in mind.
Caroline Bennett, Position 7
Caroline Bennett is a graduate of Memorial High School and is the voice we can count on for all children, students, parents, and teachers in SBISD. Caroline taught for 16 years in Spring Branch before becoming a proud parent to two sons who attend SBISD schools. Over the past 30 years, Bennett has taught and volunteered in SBISD and has been a part of district level committees, chaired numerous successful events, and served on many PTA executive boards. Her volunteer hours for the district total more than 20,000. Caroline currently serves at the General Manager of the Spring Branch Memorial Sports Association (SBMSA).