Denton ISD won’t be featured in upcoming May elections following a unanimous school board vote on Feb. 26.

The election cancellation could save the district upward of $50,000.

The school board’s February vote came after Jennifer Collins, the only person running against an incumbent, withdrew her candidacy on Feb. 22, the final day one could withdraw.

Collins initially chose to run against Vice President Charles Stafford. President Mia Price and board member Doug Chadwick also were up for re-election in May.

In her withdrawal announcement on Facebook, Collins thanked supporters and promised to return campaign donations within the following weeks.

Collins is an office administrator who has lived in Texas and Denton ISD continuously for nearly six years, according to her ballot application, and she has 13 years of experience in banking, as well as 10 years in organizational development and communications.

She has several years of experience serving on various boards, councils, leadership teams and PTAs going back to 2008.

“Passion” is the word that tends to come up most frequently when Collins speaks about public education, so why would she drop out of the race? She points to the high cost of running an election, even if it’s for only one race.

“$50,000 could pay a teacher’s salary for a year,” she said via Facebook. “It could purchase art supplies or musical instruments or science lab equipment.”

In 2017, incumbent Jim Alexander faced Alfredo Sanchez, and incumbent Dorothy Martinez faced both Justin Bell and Sam Ortiz. Both incumbents won re-election.

In 2018, incumbents Barbara Burns and Jeanetta Smith each faced three opponents, and once again, both incumbents won their respective races.

The board’s newest member, Doug Chadwick, was elected in 2016 when he ran for the unopposed Place 3 seat left open when Glenna Harris stepped down after nine years on the board.

Collins said she wasn’t sure what caused the drop in candidates, but she offered a few theories.

“The last few years, there’s been a lot more attention on running for office in general,” Collins said. She attributed that to the broader political climate.

“So maybe that kind of artificially increased the numbers the last two years,” she said. “So I think maybe that’s died down a little; maybe everybody’s tired after the November elections, and it isn’t as appealing.”

It’s also possible potential candidates looked at the three incumbents and saw them as the strongest opponents, Collins said.

{span}”I think we have a great board in general,” she said. “There’s no one really that I think doesn’t belong there.”{/span}

Jamie Wilson, Denton ISD superintendent, wouldn’t speculate as to why fewer candidates chose to run this time around.

“The current board is very experienced, focuses on student learning and works to hold me accountable for running the school district,” Wilson said. “Usually we will see individuals file for open seats, rather than run against an incumbent who has been working hard on their behalf.”

He said the district spent $51,967.82 for the 2018 election, but the district hadn’t received a cost estimate for the May election by the time it was canceled.

He said the district contracts the county to conduct board elections, and the cost includes election workers, rental of equipment and supplies.

Despite the last-minute withdrawal, Collins said she intends to run again for the school board during the next election cycle.

MARSHALL REID can be reached at 940-566-6862 and via Twitter at @MarshallKReid.

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