Trustees set May trustee election, will consider November bond election

By George Slaughter, News Editor
Posted 1/26/23

Katy school trustees Monday set a May 6 election at which district voters will decide who fills three positions on the board of trustees.

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Trustees set May trustee election, will consider November bond election


Katy school trustees Monday set a May 6 election at which district voters will decide who fills three positions on the board of trustees.

The filing period began Jan. 18. As of the Jan. 23 meeting, five candidates have filed for the three places on the ballot. However, the three incumbents—Position 3 Trustee Ashley Vann, Position 4 Trustee Leah Wilson and Position 5 Trustee Greg Schulte—have not yet filed.

The filing period ends Feb. 17. Here are the candidates who have filed.

  • Position 3: Bruce Bradford, a mortgage loan originator, and Amy Thieme, a realtor.
  • Position 4: Erica Bretell and Morgan Calhoun, both stay-at-home mothers.
  • Position 5: Mary Ellen Cuzela, a Katy ISD substitute teacher.

All seven seats on the board of trustees are at-large seats, though in recent weeks an effort has been made to change to single member districts.

In December, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund sent a letter to district officials urging the adoption of single-member districts. In this way, the letter suggested, minority participation would be encouraged. The letter also suggested that the district, under its current at-large arrangement, might be in violation of the Federal Voting Rights Act because, it claimed, it prevents Black and Latinx voters from electing their preferred candidates to the board of trustees and from participating in the electoral process on an equal footing.”

The letter also criticized Position 1 Trustee Victor Perez, who, it claimed, “was not the candidate preferred by Black and Latinx Katy residents, (but) successfully campaigned (and) won a seat on the board of trustees in a campaign based on a so-called anti- ‘critical race theory’ platform.” The letter said media reports described Perez running “a campaign during which he often referenced removal of ‘pervasively vulgar’ books and information, and books he believes promote critical race theory, from district libraries and internet servers.” The letter said Perez referred to books that were pulled from Katy ISD libraries as pornographic, and some books written from the perspective of Black or Indigenous people as critical race theory.

Perez responded at the meeting.

“This letter makes outrageous and unjustified characterizations of me as engaging in subtle and overt racial appeals during my campaign, and also racist rhetoric,” Perez said, adding that the statements were false and defamatory. “Clearly, the writer of the letter does not know me.”

The letter said Perez was a "Latinx identifying individual," which Perez said he found offensive.

“I am a Cuban-born refugee, bilingual, Hispanic or Latino male,” Perez said, adding that the letter creates “division” in the district.

While some districts, such as Richardson, have adopted single-member districts, there are no plans to do so in Katy. The district, in an email response to the NAACP letter, said the district remains confident in the fairness of its elections and consider the matter closed.

“We disagree with your legal posture and the mischaracterizations of facts surrounding past elections and candidates,” Justin Graham, the district’s general counsel, wrote in the district’s response.

Trustees changed one of the early polling locations. Graham said the district has five early polling locations, one of which is Morton Ranch High School, 21000 Franz Road. Graham suggested moving that early polling location to Paetow High School, 23111 Stockdick School Road. In this way, he said, the district would still offer voters living north of I-10 an early polling location, plus it would be more inclusive, given the growth near Paetow.

The other four early polling locations are Cinco Ranch High School, 23440 Cinco Ranch Blvd.; the Leonard E. Merrell Center, 6301 S. Stadium Dr.; Seven Lakes High School, 9251 S. Fry Road; and Taylor High School, 20700 Kingsland Blvd.

Trustees approve formation of bond committee

Trustees approved the formation of a community bond advisory committee to review enrollment projections, explore current and future school needs and make a determination on a November 2023 bond package.

Schulte, the board president, said the district has established a three-year bond cycle to build new schools, renovate older ones, and provide for safety and upgrades when needed.

“Our last school bond, which was delayed due to COVID, was in 2021,” Schulte said. “With the continued fast growth in our northwest quadrant, our board believes it is important to move forward with the formation of a committee this spring to get ahead of the population boom that will inevitably impact our classrooms and learning.”

District demographers project Katy ISD will serve more than 100,000 students in 2027—four years from today. They predict the district will continue to add an average of 1,400 new students annually until at least 2032. The majority of this growth will take place in the northwest quadrant.

The committee will review current and future growth projections, as well as identify capital, technology and safety needs across Katy ISD. An application to serve on the committee will be available from February 1-15 through the email address community members have on file with the district. The committee's first meeting will be held in March.

The committee structure is designed to be accessible to the entire community. This decision-making group will consist of approximately 150 members that include parents, business owners, senior citizens, students, partner institutions, professional and civic organizations, and other community members.

The district has set up a bond advisory committee at

Katy ISD, trustees, bond election