The next school board election is a year away, but that did not stop Fort Worth ISD trustees from fundraising.
Eight trustees raised a combined $27,630 during the past six months, according to new campaign finance reports. The deadline for campaign finance reports was July 15. Those reports are intended to cover the period between Jan. 1 and June 30.
Board Vice President Quinton Phillips did not turn in his report, according to the district.
Trustee Camille Rodriguez was the top fundraiser and spender. She brought in $18,150, and spent $21,514. Unlike most of her colleagues, Rodriguez was recently elected to the school board. She was elected in May, and was sworn in on May 17. Rodriguez’s report covers all contributions and expenditures between April 27 and June 30.
The other new school board member, Wallace Bridges, raised $500. He spent $4,336, making him the second biggest spender on the school board. Bridges joined the school board on June 28 after winning a runoff election. His report covers from June 15 to July 12.
The reports show 13 donations of more than $1,000. Four trustees received those high-dollar contributions: Anne Darr, CJ Evans, Tobi Jackson and Rodriguez.
The largest donation was from Dallas lawyer Domingo Garcia. He donated $5,000 to Rodriguez.
Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson, a law firm based in Austin with offices across Texas and the nation, donated $2,000 each to Evans, Jackson and Rodriguez.
Linebarger collects delinquent property taxes for the district. The school board awarded a five-year contract to Linebarger in 2016 and extended it for an additional three years in January 2021. Jackson and Evans voted in favor of the contract extension; the vote was 7-2, according to district records.
Darr received $2,000 from the O’Hanlon, Demerath & Castillo law firm, which has offices in Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin and the Rio Grande Valley. The school board’s attorney, Ben Castillo, is part owner of the law firm.
The pair of $2,000 donations each represented the only contribution to the campaigns of Darr and Evans.
Jackson, the board president, was the second-best fundraiser. She raised $4,950.
Trustee Roxanne Martinez raised $30. Board members Anael Luebanos and Michael Ryan did not report any fundraising.
Luebanos has more money in his campaign coffers than his fellow school board members combined. He has $59,209 that has accumulated over the years since he first ran for his seat in 2017. Luebanos was elected to a second four-year term in 2021.
Luebanos plans to run for a third term in 2025, he told the Fort Worth Report. Campaigns are expensive so he is slowly raising money to be ready, he said.
“It’s hard to raise money so I try to have money on hand just in case,” Luebanos said. “I also want money on hand to buy tacos, pizza or that kind of stuff for teachers. … I like to have a healthy account.”
The trustee who comes closest to Luebanos’ cash-on-hand figures is Rodriguez. She has $13,764 in her savings.
The next school board election is May 6, 2023. The ballot will feature Jackson’s District 2, Phillips’ District 3, Evans’ District 5 and Darr’s District 6.
The next campaign finance report will cover July 1 to Dec. 31, and will be due Jan. 17, 2023.
Disclosure: Bill Meadows and Wes Turner, who are listed in the contributions database, are board members of the Fort Worth Report. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.