Election Day is May 6 and the Fort Worth Report is committed to keeping you informed through our Election Central. 

To help voters make informed decisions at the ballot box, we asked every candidate to respond to a candidate questionnaire intended to touch on the most pressing issues candidates may face while serving in elected office. 

Districts 2, 3, 5 and 6 in Fort Worth ISD are all on the ballot. Insurance managing director Josh Yoder and medical device salesman Kevin Lynch are challenging incumbent CJ Evans to represent District 5, which covers some of the most western parts of Fort Worth ISD. You can view district maps here.

Elections are coming up. Here are some key dates:

April 24: Early voting begins 
May 2: Early voting ends 
May 6: Election Day    

Candidate survey

CJ Evans speaks during a candidate forum on March 30. Evans is up for re-election in Fort Worth ISD school board District 5. (Cristian ArguetaSoto | Fort Worth Report)

Name: CJ Evans

Age: 45

Occupation: Attorney

What are your top three priorities for the school board if you are elected?

  1. Academic Achievement. I commit to remain hyper-focused on getting Fort Worth ISD’s elementary reading and middle school math scores up. In my four years on the board we have gone from a “D+” rated district to a “B-” rated district; I am confident Fort Worth ISD can be an “A+” district, and to do that we have to have all our kids reading on grade level.    
  2. Parental and Family Engagement. Every parent is their child’s first teacher and every parent needs to know that Fort Worth ISD and their child’s campus works for them. The Fort Worth Report article on 2/7/23 titled “‘It’s more than a job.’ How Fort Worth ISD is helping parents thrive, so students can too” really demonstrates how since I was first elected the district has begun to prioritize parents and families, and I will continue to advocate for parental engagement and empowerment efforts.
  3. Fiscal Transparency and Responsibility. I am pleased we are transitioning to a zero-based budget, which will increase transparency and eliminate deficit spending. I would also like to see each campus’s budget posted on that school’s website so parents and neighbors can know how dollars are being spent on their campus(es). 

Gov. Greg Abbott has voiced support for an education savings account program that would allow parents to use taxpayer dollars to pay for private school tuition and other education-related expenses. What are your thoughts on the possible impact on public schools? 

Unfortunately, I think the education savings account program, as currently proposed in the Texas Legislature, does not require enough oversight and accountability for the use of public school dollars. Likewise, school vouchers fail to accommodate and support disabled and special-needs students. The limited one time additional funds parents or guardians of special needs students are not enough to offset the increased associated costs.  

But regardless of my personal opinion on ESA’s or vouchers, the decision to proceed is in the hands of the Texas Legislature at this time, not local school boards. As sitting Trustee of Fort Worth ISD District 5, it is my job to hold the superintendent and administration accountable for helping us become the best large urban district in Texas and I commit to remain focused on that.   

What do you think the Legislature should do for public education?

  1. Apply equal accountability and financial transparency standards for charter and traditional public schools.
  2. Reform the accountability system to appropriately measure all factors that influence student performance and school ratings, including locally controlled flexible accountability measures.
  3. Develop an assessment system that looks beyond high-stakes, multiple choice exams to meaningful assessments that have value for students, parents and teachers.
  4. Fund schools based on enrollment instead of average daily attendance (ADA) to better reflect how public schools are staffed and operated.
  5. Adjust the basic allotment for inflation.

Trustees make decisions on the vendors a school district uses. If elected, how would you ensure you remain free of any conflict of interest while you serve?

Fort Worth ISD has a procurement policy in place to ensure that the best vendors/contracts/terms are selected. I have and will continue to advocate for remanding a vendor/contract agenda item if there was only one vendor responsive to the RFQ/RFP. 

To ensure this, I have asked the superintendent and administration to begin the procurement for and recommendation of contract(s) sooner to allow for more transparency in the process.  

Currently, trustees are also required to disclose if they have an interest in any company considering doing business with the district. Likewise, trustees are not allowed to accept over a certain amount of contributions from any business that does business with the district. Fort Worth ISD’s current policy is consistent with the large majority of ISDs and municipalities in North Texas.   

How do you think your district can improve its conflict of interest and ethics policies?

Fort Worth ISD’s current policy is consistent with the large majority of ISDs and municipalities in North Texas. 

However, we can still improve in one or more of several way including but not limited to:

  • Lowering the maximum contribution amount,
  • Broadening the disclosure policy to include if a trustee has ever consulted with or been employed by said vendor, and/or 
  • Revaluating the procurement formula/process to ensure best practices are in place to secure best vendor/contract/terms/etc. for the benefit of our students.

I would support any or all of the above measures in an effort to improve Fort Worth ISD’s conflict of interest and ethics policies. 

More people are attending school board meetings to voice their opinions. How would you manage giving people a chance to speak their concerns but still keep meetings civil? 

I would like to extend the speaking time during public comment. However, no matter how long you extend the time it will probably never truly be enough to fully flush out an issue. That is why I try to talk with individuals one-on-one, especially if they have spoken at several of our meetings on the same issue.  

I believe we all want the same thing, that is for Fort Worth ISD to be an A+ district, so I am committed to listening to parents and community members about any concerns or opinions they have re: educating Fort Worth’s kids.

How would you handle voters disagreeing with a policy you approve?

I truly believe we all want the best for Fort Worth’s kids, so I will continue to listen and talk to individuals or groups that disagree with me, the Board, or our policies. Talking with individuals outside the meetings gives me more time to really listen and understand their view point; it also gives me an opportunity to explain the background or context of an issue as sometimes an individual’s understanding of an issue is based on incomplete information or they have failed to take into account certain factors.  

For example, some parents were recently upset when they heard that their kids were going to have to take the STAAR test on computer; but after speaking one-on-one with them, I was able to better understand their frustrations and had the opportunity to explain that taking the test on computer is now required by the state, not Fort Worth ISD.  

You can find other candidates’ responses by reading our voter guide here. The candidate’s responses may be edited for grammar.

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