When trustees gather on Tuesday night to decide an appointment or election process to fill the remainder of James Allen's term on the Amarillo Independent School District Board, it will be hard to find a replacement.
Allen, who has served on the Amarillo ISD Board of Trustees since the 1990's, has been a consistent fighter for Amarillo communities, educators, students, parents and employees. In many cases, Allen was the only person to go to bat for the people of Amarillo on the board and often was forced to stand up to school board president Jim Austin and others when the agenda of Amarillo's elite has been pushed over the concerns of the public.
I also appreciate the actions of trustees John Betancourt and John Ben Blanchard on some issues. Both trustees, especially in the case of Betancourt, have shown dedication to real issues in the district. In some cases these trustees have stood alone on issues and in other cases, they have backed up Allen.
While some have disagreed with issues championed by Allen, the longtime trustee has always found a way to speak for every person in the community. His votes on issues related to bond elections, school functions, taxes and other issues should be a clear indication of this.
Personally, I am not sure why Allen chose to resign from the Amarillo ISD Board of Trustees. However, my hope is that Allen may eventually run for city council. If he does so, perhaps he can put his fighting spirit to work on the City Council dais.
-Thomas Warren III, Editor-in-Chief