By: Malcom Chakery
Gloria Carrillo doesn’t give up easily. Although the third time wasn’t the charm when she was defeated in 2016 for the Grand Prairie School Board of Trustees position by almost 12 percentage points, Carillo is making her fourth attempt at a school board seat in the upcoming election.
Last year, Carrillo lost to Steve Pryor, who is currently serving as Board Vice President, for the Place 6 position, despite running the most expensive campaign. Pryor captured 343 votes compared to Carillo’s 255. Angela Luckey, the only other candidate, came in last, with just 140 votes cast in her favor.
In 2013, Carrillo lost to Terry Brooks who secured 58.91 percent of the votes, compared to Carrillo’s 41.09 percent. Brooks remains on the school board and is currently serving as president.
Prior to 2013, Carrillo had not run for school board in Grand Prairie ISD since 1999, when she lost to Michael Grace, who won the election with 55.29 percent of the vote. Grace is no longer a member of the school board.
After Carrillo lost the 2013 election, a lawsuit was filed over its at-large system of electing trustees to the board. The suit, filed by residents seeking single-member districts, alleged that the at-large system unfairly discriminated against Hispanics in order to “ … safeguard the political power of the Anglo majority and, thus, to deny representation to the GPISD’s citizens of voting age who are Hispanic.”
More than 63 percent of Grand Prairie ISD’s 29,339 students are Hispanic, and the voting age population of the district is almost 34 percent Hispanic. Although Carrillo was not part of the lawsuit, she openly favored single-member districts prior to the filing of the suit.
In 2014, a settlement was reached, and the school district implemented five single-member districts and two at-large districts, which were in place before the May 2015 school board election.
Because the district in which Carrillo resides is still represented by Steve Pryor who beat her in last year’s election, in 2017 Carrillo is running for At Large, Position 3. Her opponent this time around is Christopher Riddick, currently a school administrator in Fort Worth ISD with more than a decade of education experience.
Carrillo is no stranger to public and civic service. She has served on her homeowner’s association board, Advisory Board of the YMCA, and the Grand Prairie Unity Coalition, in addition to being active in many other community-based endeavors. Carrillo helped launch the Cinco de Mayo Committee, which is responsible for the largest celebration in the community. The annual event raises scholarship dollars for Grand Prairie ISD students.
While she has not personally worked in education, Carrillo’s late husband taught school early in their marriage and their daughter is a teacher in the Tyler Independent School District.
In addition to At Large, Position 3, two additional Grand Prairie ISD school board seats are up for grabs in this year’s election. Chester McCrary, currently a member of the board of trustees, is running unopposed in District 2. Aaron King, also a current board member, faces a challenger, Johnny Boucher, in District 4.
Stats from Carrillos’ previous school board election attempts:
Michael Grace v Gloria Carrillo
Grace 1825, 55.29%
Carrillo 1476, 44.71
Terry Brooks V Gloria Carrillo
Brooks 2626, 58.91%
Carrillo 1832, 41.09%
Steve Pryor V Gloria Carrillo
Pryor, 343, 46.48%
Carrillo 255, 34.55%
Luckey 140, 18.97%