AP NEWS

New voices on the Katy school board

May 14, 2019

The voters of the Katy Independent School District opted against returning its most senior trustee to the school board and also said they didn’t want a controversial community activist representing their interests there.

On May 4, they picked attorney Donald T. Keller, Jr. for Position 1 on the Katy ISD school board and businessman Lance Redmon for the Position 2 seat. Keller received 4,093 votes while Redmon - who ran unopposed - was put into office with 7,563 votes. Outgoing board member Rebecca Fox received 3,320 votes with Sean Dolan picking up 1,062 votes. The total votes in the Precinct 1 race were 8,498, Katy ISD officials said, citing the as yet unofficial numbers.

Fox has been sitting on the Katy ISD school board since 2004 and has held every position, including three times as president. She had been serving in the Position 2 seat but switched at the last minute to run in Position 1, replacing outgoing board member George Scott.

In a Facebook message, Fox said she appreciated being allowed to serve as a Katy ISD trustee for so many years.

“Our district has grown and changed and our success is because of you, your children and our superstar staff. I am grateful to have been a small part of it,” she said. “Please join me in praying for our school board as they decide the future for our district.”

Keller and Redmon received the support of current board president Courtney Doyle and former president - and current trustee - Ashley Vann. Former Katy ISD superintendent Lance Hindt spoke in favor of both men at a recent campaign rally and threw some barbs at Fox and Dolan.

After his campaign win, Keller said he was hoping to help cool some of the rhetorical fire embroiling the district. He said the community wants board members to “get back to the reasoned and sound management of the business of our school district so the focus can be on our students, teachers staff and all of our district support employees.”

“I trust all of the students, parents, principals, administrators and staff of all of the schools of our district know I am serving for all of them. I meant that when I said it. We are one district,” Keller said.

Dolan has been at the center of much of the controversy swirling around Hindt’s abrupt departure following decades old allegations that he had been a bully in junior high school and questions about his doctoral dissertation at the University of Houston. Dolan said he respects the will over the people but called the 1,062 voters who chose him “agents of change.”

“A coalition of change agents, numbering in excess of 1,000 people, across this community is an amazing foundation to start building a better future on,” Dolan said. “I hope that Duke Keller and Lance Redmon will take into consideration the will of these voters over the next year.”

Although Redmon was assured a win, he gave thanks to his supporters and voters.

“My prayer as we more forward is that our board will serve our community and be a source of unity in our district,” he said. “I am looking forward to serving alongside (Keller) for our term.”

Dolan said he intends to “get out of the way” of Keller and Redmon and hopes they will “make good on their campaign promises.” He intends to back away from Katy ISD affairs and focus on his family and business - until the next election.

“I also hope (my) voters will stay engaged until the next election so we can rid our board of the three remaining board members - Courtney Doyle, Bill Lacy and Ashley Vann - who chose to protect Lance Hindt at the expense of our students, costing us well over a million dollars,” Dolan said.

Keller and Redmon said they appreciated Rebecca Fox’s years of work on behalf of the students and staff at Katy ISD.

“Not only did she serve as a trustee for many years but outside of that service she has been involved in volunteer work for our district and our community,” Keller said. “Even though she was an opponent in this election, I trust this thank you in received with the genuineness with which I intend it and that she will continue to help our district and community with her volunteer work.”

mike.glenn@chron.com