Executives for the company that won a $49.2 million school district contract contributed $5,000 to the state House campaign of the district’s superintendent.
Campaign finance reports filed by Granbury ISD Superintendent James Largent show he received $3,000 from BTC Construction President Sammy Martin, along with $1,000 contributions from Theresa Shurtleff and Michael Trammell, both vice presidents at the Fort Worth-based firm formally known as Buford Thompson Co.
Largent is challenging state Rep. Mike Lang, R-Eastland, in the March 6 GOP primary in House District 60. Gregory Risse is also in the race.
Largent’s candidacy came under fire this month when the Hood County Republican Party’s executive committee issued a vote of “no confidence” against the school chief, saying his House campaign violated the state party platform.
Largent has denied the allegation and called the local party’s action “shameful.”
Pushing for an $85 million school bond in 2013, Largent emailed teachers urging them to call parents to support the debt package at the polls. Some instructors balked at the political gambit, and public-records requests into Largent’s official correspondence are pending with the district.
School Board President Mark Jackson said at the time that the bond measure could not have passed “without Dr. Largent’s leadership.”
Largent said BTC’s construction-manager bid on the 2013 bond came in $2 million under budget. “Those projects are complete,” he told The Texas Monitor.
Jim Logan, chairman of the Hood County Republican Party, said Largent’s political attacks on school-choice legislation and other reforms championed by free-market conservatives are “in line with his not signing the Republican Platform.”
“He has used his taxpayer-funded salary to lobby for increased school spending, which led to non-teaching staff raises skyrocketing,” Logan said. “Now we are seeing the use of taxpayer dollars for construction of a new high school he spearheaded being used to gain supporters of his campaign.”
In Fort Worth, Shurtleff, BTC’s vice president for business development, said she, Martin and Trammell “are personal friends of Dr. Largent’s and we support his campaign endeavor.”
“We all contributed personally to his campaign and wish him the best of luck,” Shurtleff said.
Kenric Ward can be reached [email protected]