Three incumbents face challengers on Donna ISD board

Donna ISD administration offices on Friday, Jan. 21, 2022, in Donna. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

All three candidates up for reelection on the Donna Independent School District Board of Trustees will run contested in the November election.

Incumbent David De Los Rios, who is self-employed and currently serves as board president, will attempt to defend his Place 5 seat from Eloy Avila, who works for Hidalgo County as a Precinct 1 employee.

Retired Lieutenant Colonel Roberto Perez, the current Place 6 incumbent, will face two challengers to his reelection, retired educator Ida M. Garcia and crime victim liaison Sandra Vicencio.

Meanwhile, in Place 7, incumbent Dr. Maricela Valdez, a retired educator, will run against Jay Villarreal, who works as a registrar.

Things have, on the whole, been looking up for Donna ISD since high-profile scandals five years ago prompted the Texas Education Agency to appoint a conservator to oversee the district.

That conservator told the board this summer that she feels the district could be free of state oversight by the end of the year.

The district has seen some bumps along the road since its last board election in 2020.

Previous superintendent Hafedh Azaiez exited the district to take over in Round Rock ISD last year amid early signs of friction between him and the board.

Angela Dominguez, Azaiez’s successor, seems to have maintained a positive relationship with the board, although she’s faced challenges of her own, among them a high-profile threat to the district that resulted in four arrests and a federal lawsuit from a disability rights group claiming the district failed to turn over documents pertaining to alleged abuse.