November 29, 2007
HISD Trustee runoff overview

One HISD Trustee race, in District II, has gone to a runoff. Here's the overview story for that.

Both candidates in the runoff for the District II seat, Carol Mims Galloway and Michael Yarbrough, say they have serious concerns about the consolidations proposed in the Houston Independent School District's $805 million bond package that was narrowly approved by voters this month.

They also agree that the district needs to improve vocational education. And Galloway and Yarbrough say they are troubled by the district's performance pay program for employees.

The candidates, however, say voters have a clear choice.

Galloway touts her experience as the District II trustee from 1992-99. Yarbrough says the board needs a fresh face.


"What sets me apart from my opponent, first of all, is character," said Galloway, who is president of the Houston branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. "Second of all, my proven commitment in the past for being accessible and inclusive of the community and the constituents I serve."

The Harris County Appraisal District contends that Yarbrough wrongly accepted property tax discounts for years. The tax office says he could owe more than $7,770, plus penalties, for the over-65 homestead exemption he received.

"My paperwork shows something different from theirs," Yarbrough said, declining to comment further.

He said Galloway is more committed to those who encouraged her to run than to the students, and that HISD's high dropout rate reflects on past trustees.

Galloway said she has the support of former candidates Larry Williams, who finished third, and Reginald Adams, who finished last. The other candidate, Charles McCloud, supports Yarbrough.

I thought Reginald Adams was the real fresh face in this election, and I was sorry to see him not get any traction. I'm glad to see he's supporting Galloway, because Yarbrough has a pretty questionable past.

Yarbrough, who graduated from Texas Southern University with a degree in political science, said he would work to reduce dropouts. He also hopes to solicit money from businesses to raise teacher pay.

Voters, he said, are not bothered by his past legal troubles. In 2000, he was acquitted on charges that he had accepted an illegal campaign contribution. He also was tried twice on charges that he had accepted bribes in exchange for votes, but both trials ended in mistrials because the juries deadlocked.

Here's an old Houston Press article that goes into that in more detail. I don't have a vote in this race, but if I did it would be going to Galloway.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 29, 2007 to Election 2007