San Antonio/ Politics & Govt
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Published on May 19, 2024
New NEISD Trustees Face Challenges Over Book Censorship and Budget Deficit in San AntonioSource: Unsplash/ Trnava University

The North East Independent School District Board has sworn in five new trustees, amidst tensions over book censorship and a looming budget crisis. Just a day before their induction, parents and community members voiced objections on school library content and sex ed curriculum edits at a board meeting. The outgoing board took these concerns into consideration and decided to allow more time, until the end of June, for the review and amendment of the eighth-grade sexual education curriculum. One of the departing trustees, Steve Hilliard, specifically requested the discussion of the mentioned books for the new board's agenda, as reported by San Antonio Report.

In the wake of the recent board election, conservative candidates, unsuccessful in their bids, brought forth allegations of voting irregularities. Jacqueline Klein, the Bexar County Chapter chair of Moms for Liberty, cited claims of potential voter fraud including concerns like voters casting multiple ballots and voting from improper addresses. Despite the gravity of her accusations, Klein has yet to submit an official complaint, and the Bexar County Elections Administrator awaits proper documentation to begin any inquiry. Klein assured during an interview that any forthcoming complaints "will be factual and substantiated by evidence," as told to the San Antonio Report.

Meanwhile, the topic of age-inappropriate materials in libraries has reentered the spotlight, with parents and local religious leaders calling out several books for their explicit content. Books such as "The Empire of Storms" and "Push," which are currently available in district middle school libraries according to NEISD's online catalog, have been scrutinized. Critics of the ​​inclusion of such books argue for a stricter content rating system, somewhat in line with Texas' House Bill 900, which was passed last year but has faced judicial challenges preventing its enforcement. The board has promised ongoing scrutiny of the books, and parents have the option to opt-out of certain titles for their kids.

As the new trustees settle into their roles, they are confronted with a $39 million shortfall and the contentious issues surrounding school curricula. Re-elected trustee David Beyer, lauded as the new board president, must steer the district through these controversies. In reassurance of a capable future, outgoing President Shannon Grona praised the new board, emphasizing the need for them to thoroughly prepare for the complex discussions ahead, according to a statement by San Antonio Report.