TISD Board Candidate Deemed "Ineligible"

Sharon Williams filed to be a TISD board candidate on March 15 and began campaigning for the position. Almost two months later, yesterday, she received a call from TISD saying she's ineligible to run.

Williams discovered there was one thing keeping her out of the race: 17-and-a-half feet. Williams was running for the District 3 position, which falls on one side of North Forest Street. But she lives on the other side, which is considered District 2.

"I had no idea," Williams said. "I would not have spent one dime on this campaign if I had have known."

Both she and the TISD board secretary agree that the address confusion was an honest mistake.

"Normally, when a candidate comes, if there's any confusion, we will call the Smith County elections bureau. And they will help clarify that by their address," Cathy Parks said. "I did not call them because she seemed to be so certain that she knew where her house was located."

But Williams has learned, living on the wrong side of the street is much less complicated than taking sides in a divided issue. Her opinion became controversial last week when a couple thousand students skipped school to protest the reassignment of John Tyler High School principal, Aubrey Todd.

"Children should not be in a fight that is not theirs because children are children, and they need to stay in children's place," Williams said.

Williams says she recieved some political heat for her opinions, convincing her she did not want to be part of the race after all. She just wishes she would have known earlier that her house was on the wrong side of the street.

A TISD attorney says the district is not legally responsible for the mistake. Williams says she had planned to withdraw from the board election this week. But according to TISD, the deadline to withdraw has already passed. However, any votes for Williams this Saturday will not be counted.

Julie Tam, reporting.