Contact the SBOE Today

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 TODAY is the day for you to contact all the SBOE members

Tell them that you want Ken Mercer as Vice Chair.

WHY?

Ken is one of the conservative leaders on the Board, loves our country, and has demonstrated time after time that he has genuine integrity. He and Barbara Cargill are both fair minded and try to work with the other SBOE members whenever basic principles are not sacrificed. 

[1.20.13 — I am resending this article as a reminder:  If you care about the future of the public school children in this state, then you MUST take these action steps IMMEDIATELY!  The Texas State Board of Education meets this coming Wednesday. At that time, two crucial people will be chosen for the three-member Executive Committee. Those three people determine the agendas and which members become committee chairs.  Barbara Cargill is the chair of the SBOE and of the Executive Committee, but there are only three on the Executive Committee. If Thomas Ratliff, who has demonstrated that he has no integrity and is on the Board illegally, is chosen as the Vice Chair and one more left leaner is chosen as the Secretary, then all will be lost. 

 

TODAY is the day for you to contact all the SBOE members and tell them that you want Ken Mercer as Vice Chair. Ken is one of the conservative leaders on the Board, loves our country, and has demonstrated time after time that he has genuine integrity. He and Barbara Cargill are both fair minded and try to work with the other SBOE members whenever basic principles are not sacrificed. 

 

2. Contact State Board of Education Members

Email your concerns to:  sboesupport@tea.state.tx.us 

SBOE Members by District Number

Martha M. Dominguez
, El Paso, District 1  sboesupport@tea.state.tx.us 

Remember that last term, the Executive Committee had a 2 to 1 favoring the left-leaners whereby Thomas Ratliff, a registered lobbyist,  was seated on the very committee that he should NEVER have been put on – the one that has authority over protecting the Permanent School Fund – the one that Ratliff’s big Microsoft client impacts the most.  This was not an accidental placement; Thomas Ratliff deliberately made sure that he was put on that committee.  Please do not let this happen again.  Barbara Cargill and Ken Mercer together can make a difference on the Executive Committee.  – Donna Garner]

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“Thomas Ratliff, Ineligible for SBOE”

by Donna Garner

1.15.13

The Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) has a member, Thomas Ratliff, who is not eligible to be there.

The people of Texas knew what they were doing many years ago when they set up the Texas Education Code to keep the SBOE fiercely independent of lobbyists and outside vested interests.  SBOE members receive no remuneration of any kind, have no paid staffs, and have no paid office equipment or cell phones.   

THOMAS RATLIFF – REGISTERED LOBBYIST — DISDAIN FOR RULE OF LAW

This fierce independence from lobbyists and outside interests was maintained by the SBOE until Thomas Ratliff came along as a candidate in 2010. 

Ratliff ignored the Texas Education Code, blatantly raised money for his campaign from other wealthy lobbyists and special interest groups, and beat out conservative Don McLeroy for the position.

Thomas Ratliff has been a registered lobbyist for at least 12 years along with his various family members. Thomas Ratliff has long-standing business dealings with Microsoft and at least two other firms that do business with the Texas State Board of Education and the Texas Education Agency.    

 

Microsoft is Thomas Ratliff’s biggest client, is the largest software vendor, and is one of the largest Permanent School Fund (PSF) stock holders. The SBOE has authority over the Permanent School Fund, and many decisions are made by the SBOE and the Texas Education Agency over technology-related expenditures involving Microsoft products. The funds for these expenditures come largely from the PSF.  Guess which SBOE committee Thomas Ratliff managed to get himself put on during his first term? …The committee that has the authority over the Permanent School Fund.  

 When Ratliff testified glowingly before the Senate Education Committee on 3.29.11 about SB 6 – HB 6, which he stated he just “loves,” he did not bother to mention the fact that he has been a registered lobbyist for Microsoft for 12 years.  SB 6/HB 6 contained language that transformed the payout of the Permanent School Fund, and Microsoft has derived millions of dollars from these changes.   

 

At a 2011 SBOE meeting, the chair of the SBOE was asked by a Texas citizen to send a request for a ruling to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott asking him to clarify the conflict of interest problem as a registered lobbyist that Thomas Ratliff has. 

  

On 8.12.11, the Texas Attorney General’s Office ruled that Thomas Ratliff’s presence on the SBOE is not legal because of his being a registered lobbyist. The TAG said that it is not sufficient for Ratliff to try to recuse himself from votes involving his clients because there is nothing that he can do “to cure” his situation.  In other words, the Texas Attorney General ruled that as a registered lobbyist, Ratliff is not even eligible to be on the SBOE. (Please see TAG’s opinion posted at the bottom of this page.)

  

The very real problem for us in Texas is that the legislature has set no legal process by which Thomas Ratliff can be removed from the SBOE, and Ratliff has not had enough integrity and respect for the Rule of Law to leave of his own volition.

 

RATLIFF GETS FAVORABLE REDISTRICTING MAP

Because of his family’s great wealth and political power, Thomas Ratliff managed to influence the Texas Legislature to approve an SBOE redistricting map for the 2012 elections that was shaped almost exactly like the district that his father, Senator Bill Ratliff, represented.  This map gave Thomas high name recognition on the ballot.  Coincidentally (?), the one person who was positioning himself to run against Thomas in the 2012 election (former SBOE member Don McLeroy from College Station) was redistricted out of Ratliff’s new SBOE district.

 

Consequently, Thomas Ratliff was re-elected to the SBOE on 11.6.12 even though he is ineligible to be there because of his lobbying interests.

 

 WHAT WE CAN DO

 

The Texas State Board of Education is set to meet next week on Jan. 30 – Feb. 1, 2013. Because this is the first regular SBOE meeting since the Nov. 6, 2012 elections, the 15 members of the Board will be electing Executive Committee officers (Vice-Chair and Secretary).  The Executive Committee then will choose which SBOE members will become the committee chairs and committee members.

 

ACTION STEP #1: The chair of the SBOE, Barbara Cargill, has been appointed by Gov. Perry; and Cargill will be up for confirmation by the Senate Nominating Committee (and then the Senate) at any time during this 83rd Legislative Session.  

Barbara Cargill has been a capable, fair, and respected SBOE chair; and all of us need to let our Texas Senators know that we expect them to support her confirmation.  The chair of the Senate Nominating Committee is Senator Glenn Hegar: 512-463-0118; GLENN.HEGAR@SENATE.STATE.TX.US

 

ACTION STEP #2: The members of the SBOE Executive Committee are vital to the functioning of the Board because they determine who will chair the three committees — Committee on School Finance/Permanent School Fund, Committee on School Initiatives, and Committee on Instruction.

 

What we must do is to contact the SBOE member who represents us and ask her/him not to allow Thomas Ratliff to be elected to the Executive Committee, particularly since he is not even eligible to be on the Board.

 

This link gives the names, contact information, and designated districts for each of the 15 SBOE members — http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index4.aspx?id=3803

 

Please send your e-mail with the name of your SBOE member in the subject line.  The SBOE e-mail address is —  SBOESUPPORT@TEA.STATE.TX.US

   

ACTION STEP #3:  SBOE member Ken Mercer has openly contacted all of the SBOE members and asked them to consider supporting him for the Executive Committee Vice-Chair’s spot.  He has not asked any of them to declare their support for him but has merely communicated to them his interest in running for the position.

 

Please ask your SBOE member to support Ken Mercer as the Vice Chair of the Executive Committee. 

 This link gives the names, contact information, and designated districts for each of the 15 SBOE members — http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index4.aspx?id=3803

 

Please send your e-mail with the name of your SBOE member in the subject line.  The SBOE e-mail address is —  SBOESUPPORT@TEA.STATE.TX.US

  

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8.12.11

 

Subject: Notification of Opinion (Texas Attorney General’s Office)

 

 

Opinion No.  GA-0876

Go to: http://www.oag.state.tx.us/opinions/opinions/50abbott/op/2011/htm/ga-0876.htm

Re: Construction of section 7.103(c), Education Code, regarding the eligibility of a registered lobbyist for membership on the State Board of Education (RQ-0948-GA)

https://www.oag.state.tx.us/opinions/opinions/50abbott/rq/2011/pdf/rq0948ga.pdf

  Summary: Subsection 7.103(c), Texas Education Code, precludes certain registered lobbyists from serving on the State Board of Education (“Board”). A person who has been retained to communicate directly with the legislative or executive branch to influence legislation or administrative action in or on behalf of a profession, business, or association on a matter that pertains to or is associated or connected with any of the statutorily enumerated powers or duties of the Board is not eligible to serve on the Board. Thus, a registered lobbyist who has been paid to lobby the legislative or executive branch on a matter relating to Board business is ineligible to serve on the Board. The question of whether any person engaged in lobbying activity is ineligible under subsection 7.103(c) is a fact question that is inappropriate to an attorney general opinion.

 

Absent a mechanism to cure a violation in subsection 7.103(c), we cannot advise that a member of the Board may cure his or her ineligibility under the subsection.

 This link gives general information about the Texas State Board of Education:  http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index4.aspx?id=1156

 

 

Donna Garner

Wgarner1@hot.rr.com

 

 

 

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