FW school board District 9: New lines, new voice

Posted Thursday, Apr. 25, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Trustee Juan Rangel has spent 13 years on the Fort Worth school board. During that time, he has butted heads with superintendents and some fellow board members, advocated pay hikes even in lean times and aggressively tried to advance Hispanic political power through redistricting.

Rangel, 65, told the Editorial Board, "I don't want to continue on the board forever." Voters have a chance to bring a new voice to the board in District 9.

Ashley Paz, 30, a Fairmount mother of two, owns event planning and floral design businesses.

The 2011 remap resulted in a district considerably different from the south side area Rangel previously represented.

District 9 encompasses the Oakhurst and Riverside neighborhoods east of Interstate 35, downtown and Fairmount, along with Carter-Riverside and Trimble Tech high schools.

Rangel has the experience of many budget debates and efforts to find solutions for lagging academics and excessive dropout rates.

But he also joined Trustee Carlos Vasquez in a dubious scheme to steer the district's delinquent tax contract to a law firm that employed a political ally. Rangel also has said he sees no conflict in voting on financial issues in which he arguably has a vested interest because his wife is the district's executive director of early childhood education.

In 2011, Rangel voted to put off a sensible proposal to stop the unaffordable growth of an employee longevity bonus program that will pay his wife a bonus of more than $28,000 when she retires.

Paz has been active in her neighborhood association and has worked to create a partnership between residents and the neighborhood schools. With young children, she has a keen interest in the district's future.

She has energy and drive but will need a deeper grasp of the district's finances, state funding issues and the complexities of urban public education to be an effective trustee.

The Star-Telegram Editorial Board recommends Ashley Paz for Fort Worth school board District 9.

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