Adults across Fort Worth ISD will head to the polls on May 6 to vote in three school board races. The decisions these adults make will have lasting impacts on a group that largely can’t vote yet — students. 

The Report asked different high school students what they want to see in whoever is elected to the school board, and their answers are as diverse as the campuses they hail from. But one common thread among students is that they want to see more funding for their programs, enhanced safety and trustees who value their input.

In District 2, trustee and board president Tobi Jackson is attempting to keep her seat against Pat Carlson. Incumbent Quiton Phillips is running for another term against Mar’Tayshia James and Valeria Nevárez. District 5 trustee CJ Evans is up for re-election with Kevin Lynch and Josh Yoder challenging her for the seat.

Meet the candidates

The Report hosted candidate forums for Fort Worth ISD candidates on March 30 at Texas A&M Law School. Click here to watch.

Ryn Singleton, Southwest High School

Trustee: Anne Darr

To students, it feels like there is a lack of communication between them and the board, Ryn Singleton said.

“It feels like they make decisions out of left field and don’t get student opinions,” he said. “There’s a lack of communication about what students do. Trustees aren’t aware of or realize how much they impact students.”

Isidro Castaneda, Carter-Riverside High School

Trustee: Roxanne Martinez

A good trustee will work to fill the needs of both students and staff, Isidro Castaneda said.

“We want full honesty and determination to understand the needs of everyone and meet them,” he said.

Jonathan Feldman, Paschal High School

Trustee: Anael Luebanos

When students want to attend an academic event like a robotics competition, Jonathan Feldman said they sometimes have to go to the Parent Teacher Association to get funds, unlike athletics. 

“They give money to sports even if they aren’t popular in the school or good,” Feldman said. “There might be some programs that can do better and need funding.”

Emily Hernandez, South Hills High School

Trustee: Anne Darr

Emily Hernandez, a student at South Hills high school, wants more engagement from trustees. (Courtesy photo | South Hills High School)

When South Hills High School posts about something on social media, Emily Hernandez wants to see trustees engage with it.

“We want consistency and for them to keep their word,” she said. “Show an interest in the school and what we’re doing.”

Graciela Ortiz, South Hills High School

Trustee: Anne Darr

South Hills High School student Graciela Ortiz hopes to see trustees check in with students more. (Courtesy photo | South Hills High School)

Like her classmate Hernandez, Graciela Ortiz wants trustees to comment on their successes and engage with the school online.

But even more, Ortiz hopes school board members will actually keep in touch and check in with students at campuses.

Cecilia Chavez, Polytechnic High School

Trustee: Tobi Jackson

It’s not enough to just set goals for students, trustees also need to put tools in place to help students achieve them — such as tutors or student groups, Cecilia Chavez said.

Students have a lot of pressure to perform well on standardized tests, she said, and that pressure can make students struggle even more.

Adain Lucio, Dunbar High School

Trustee: Quinton Phillips

Adain Lucio knows one of his teachers has paid out of pocket for some classroom supplies, and said he hopes trustees put an end to that by funding student resources better.

Lucio said he also wants to see more student representation. “Get our opinions and help us with opportunities to speak our minds so we learn how.”

Alphonsine Nduwimana, Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School

Trustee: Roxanne Martinez 

Alphonsine Nduwimana attends Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School. (Courtesy photo | Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School)

Alphonsine Nduwimana attends Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School. (Courtesy photo | Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School)

Students who want to participate in after school activities or tutoring oftentimes can’t because they don’t have transportation home. Those students need options, student Alphonsine Nduwimana said.

School safety is another priority for Nduwimana. “Many schools have shootings and we need protection,” she said.

Marco Sanchez, North Side High School

Trustee: Dr. Camille Rodriguez

North Side High School senior Marco Sanchez wants more decision making power on campuses. (Courtesy photo | North Side High School)

Marco Sanchez sees an opportunity to use the division of power in government as a model for managing the district. He would like to see trustees give more decision-making powers to high schools.

“Kind of like federal and state governments,” Sanchez said. “If the administration downtown is the federal government, make the high schools like states and have more freedom to make decisions about their campuses. For example, I don’t get why we got Macbooks, and we could have had a say in that.”

Ruben Reyes, Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School

Trustee: Roxanne Martinez 

Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School student Ruben Reyes has met his trustee, Roxanne Martinez. (Courtesy photo | Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School)

Ruben Reyes is no stranger to his representation on the school board, trustee Roxanne Martinez. He sees her at a lot of events and feels like she listens to those she represents.

“We need that sense of community to represent us,” Reyes said. “There’s a lack of communication, Roxanne actually listens to us and that’s more of what we need.”

Richard Perez, North Side High School

Trustee: Dr. Camille Rodriguez

North Side High School student Richard Perez hopes trustees are more open to change. (Courtesy photo | North Side High School)

North Side High School should have more advanced placement course options to help students further their education, Richard Perez said.

“Be more open to change,” he said. “Don’t be stuck in old ways and think about the impact of all your decisions on students, because they don’t impact you but they do impact us.”

Mia Morales, Young Women’s Leadership Academy

Trustee: Roxanne Martinez

Mia Morales, a student at Young Women’s Leadership Academy, wants the school board to consider safety at the downtown campus. (Courtesy photo | Mia Morales)

Students at Young Women’s Leadership Academy want to see their school board member more. But they also want security at the downtown campus prioritized.

“We had an incident where a homeless man came in and no one knew about it except the students involved. Some of the teachers didn’t even know what happened,” Mia Morales said. “‘I would change the location of the school, honestly.”

Kristen Barton is an education reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at kristen.barton@fortworthreport.org. 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. 

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Kristen BartonEducation Reporter

Kristen Barton is an education reporter for the Fort Worth Report. She has previous experience in education reporting for her hometown paper, the Longview News-Journal and her college paper, The Daily...