Successes attributed to community engagement, broad support for inclusive public education
Tuesday’s Round Rock ISD school-board election ended in decisive victories for all five candidates endorsed by Access Education RRISD. Round Rock ISD is a large, suburban, public school district spanning two counties and multiple bedroom communities north of Austin, Texas. Over the past 10 years, it has become increasingly diverse–racially, culturally and economically. The electoral sweep culminates fifteen months of engaging and mobilizing the community around its broad support for high-quality, equitable, and inclusive public education. A locally funded, all-volunteer, political action committee, Access RRISD was formed by District parents last year in response to outside interests fueling disruption at Board meetings, both on and off the dais.
Access viewed the non-partisan election as a choice between supporting the local community’s desire for well-functioning public schools that promote academic success in a safe and inclusive environment and a pre-packaged, far-right agenda funded by the Republican party and beholden to outside mega-donors.
Krista Laine, President of Access Education RRISD stated, “The election results are a testament to our community coming together to fight outside money and interests, successfully.”
The high-stakes nature of this year’s school-board election drove a median *5-percent increase in school-board ballots cast across the five seats in 2022, relative to the four seats on the 2020 ballot.
Access RRISD’s parent volunteers spent over a year mobilizing the voters of this diverse, 46,000-student school district.
- Early volunteers spent thousands of hours cultivating an inclusive coalition of engaged stakeholders by leveraging personal relationships and social networks, reaching out to local advocacy groups, and communicating on shared values.
- As election season neared, Access began targeted fundraising efforts and partnered with like-minded organizations to enable effective voter outreach.
- Access invited its robust membership–numbering in the hundreds–to participate in its community-driven endorsement process, ensuring that the endorsed candidates’ platforms represented the concerns of a majority of families in the District.
- During Early Voting and on Election Day, hundreds of volunteers from the community stepped up to do the ground-level work necessary to inform voters. Parents, teachers and even some current and future RRISD students block-walked, wrote emails and social media posts, and talked to voters outside the polls.
Said Jeaneane McNulty, an early volunteer, “Access leadership was committed from the start to including as many community members as possible in the whole process. So many people were involved, at so many different stages–and we all just supported each other when it was hard, and did what we were good at when we could, and ran with what we were passionate about; which, at its core, was the same for everyone–a great education not just for our own kids, but for all kids.”
Access Education RRISD now turns its energy toward supporting Round Rock ISD schools to deliver on the District’s vision of including all, inspiring action to drive continuous improvement, and investing in the growth of every student.
Access Education RRISD is a non-profit, general-purpose political action committee in the state of Texas. It is not affiliated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with Round Rock ISD.
*[6/2/2023 editor’s note] The original press release stated an 8-percent median increase. Subsequent re-calculation using the most complete data available indicates actual median increase closer to 5%.