Ratliff will challenge McLeroy for SBOE post
Wed June 3, 2009 12:59 am

Not former lieutenant governor Bill Ratliff. His son, Thomas. Ratliff says that the general release is timed for 8:30 a.m. but that it may be released any time this morning before that. It's 12:50 a.m.

Here's the text of the release:

AUSTIN - On the heels of a legislative session that saw 15 bills filed by Republican and Democrat legislators to curtail some or all of the responsibilities of the State Board of Education, Thomas Ratliff has filed the necessary paperwork with the Texas Ethics Commission to run for the District 9 seat. The incumbent is Dr. Don McLeroy, whose nomination for chairman of the SBOE was recently rejected by the Texas Senate.

Mr. Ratliff said, “First, I want to thank Dr. McLeroy for his 10 years of service on the SBOE. I just simply have a different approach to working for the parents and schoolchildren of Texas. I am running because I want to work with educators and the other SBOE members to provide leadership for Texas’ neighborhood schools, help mend the fractured relationship with the Texas legislature and restore the public’s confidence in the State Board of Education.”

“The SBOE has become a distraction to our neighborhood schools and a liability to the Republican Party under the leadership of Dr. McLeroy. I strongly believe we need to take politics out of our kids' education and the state board should refocus its efforts on the truly important issues facing parents, students and educators.”

Part of the paperwork filed with the Ethics Commission is the appointment of a campaign treasurer. Dr. Jenny Preston, the former superintendent of Allen ISD, Forney ISD and Graham ISD, will serve as the treasurer for Mr. Ratliff’s campaign.

“I believe Thomas is the right person to represent the parents, children and educators on the State Board of Education. He will bring a levelheaded approach to the challenges facing our neighborhood schools and I am proud to be involved in his campaign”, added Dr. Preston.

Mr. Ratliff concluded, “I am honored to have the support of people like Dr. Preston in this campaign. In the coming months I look forward to listening to parents, school board members and educators about the challenges facing our neighborhood schools and how the State Board of Education can help them accomplish their goal of making Texas’ schools the best they can be for our kids.”

SBOE District 9 includes the counties of Anderson, Brazos, Camp, Cherokee, Collin, Delta, Falls, Fannin, Franklin, Freestone, Grimes, Henderson, Hopkins, Houston, Hunt, Kaufman, Lamar, Leon, Limestone, Madison, Navarro, Rains, Red River, Robertson, Titus, Upshur, Van Zandt, Walker and Wood.

Collin County is the major population center in the district. McLeroy's home county of Brazos would be the next biggest source of votes. Most of the rest of the district is rural East Texas and East Central Texas. The religious right is very skilled in organizing for State Board of Education races, which is why it has been able to take over the board and stage attacks on the teaching of evolution and other fringe issues. A 2008 challenge to David Bradley, another of the way-out-there members of the SBOE, didn't come close to unseating him.

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