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Carroll ISD votes to end membership with Texas Association of School Boards

"And let me tell you, while Carroll is the first to leave TASB, they will not be the last," said Texas State Rep. Brian Harrison.

SOUTHLAKE, Texas — Carroll ISD has voted to end its membership with the Texas Association of School Boards, becoming the first public school district in the state to do so.

The decision happened in a 5-1 vote during a board meeting on Monday night.

As controversies over COVID-19 and Critical Race Theory and sexual identity boiled over at school board meetings across the state during the last two years, Texas state Rep. Brian Harrison sent a letter to each of the more than 1,000 school districts in the state this January, identifying what he believes to be one of the problems.

The Texas Association of School Boards, an independent agency, said its mission is to "promote educational excellence for Texas schoolchildren through advocacy, visionary leadership, and high-quality services to school districts."

Not the way Harrison said conservative parents see it.

"Their tax money is being weaponized against them, it's being weaponized against their children, and it's being weaponized against their values by funding an organization that is working to push dangerous woke ideology on school children across the state of Texas," the Republican from Waxahachie told WFAA.

Faced with what some school board members across the state considered dangerous rhetoric by audience members at school board meetings, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) sent a letter to President Joe Biden in late 2021, requesting a federal investigation of and assistance with events at school board meetings.

SBA Executive Director & CEO John Heim said months later after an independent review that "the letter directly contradicts our core commitments to parent engagement, local control, and nonpartisanship. The sentiments shared in the letter do not represent the views or position of the NSBA."

But in its resolution, Carroll ISD said that it took eight months for TASB to respond to that initial letter and end its membership with the NSBA. The resolution also added that "TASB actively promotes, through training and conferences, divisive political ideologies as a professional development opportunity for school district administrators and board members."

In a written statement to WFAA, Carroll ISD addressed the vote prior to Monday's meeting:  

"The consideration of withdrawal from the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) by Carroll ISD ensures fiduciary and community value accountability to CISD's entire body of constituents. Carroll ISD is confident that local control and choice for the services currently rendered by TASB will provide CISD with financial responsibility and community-value aligned services."

A TASB spokesperson, also in response to the pending vote, told WFAA:

 "TASB is an organization founded on the tradition that locally elected school boards are best equipped to govern and lead their school districts. We respect the right of the Carroll ISD Board to assess and evaluate their membership in TASB and any additional services and programs their district participates in. 

It's our hope that their assessment will result in what we know is true: TASB is a non-partisan, member association that has worked for nearly 75 years to support school boards and strengthen Texas public schools. Our non-profit programs and services are designed to help districts save taxpayer money – keeping resources in the classroom where they belong."

The Carroll ISD resolution further stated that "services provided by TASB to Texas School Boards are readily available on the free market and the Carroll Board of Trustees believe competition would bring lower prices and better services."

"I praise the conservative courage and bold leadership demonstrated by the Carroll Board of Trustees this evening," added Harrison. "And let me tell you, while Carroll is the first to leave TASB, they will not be the last."

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