Power Top Ten #8: Conroe ISD Superintendent Curtis Null

Power Top Ten #8: Conroe ISD Superintendent Curtis Null

Image: On October 4, 2022, Conroe Independent School District Superintendent Curtis Null (center) received the Community Citizen of the Year 2022 Award from the Woodlands Chamber of Commerce.

Montgomery County, December 9 – Conroe Independent School District (CISD) Superintendent Curtis Null is the Eighth Most Powerful of the Power Top Ten, the ten most powerful people in Montgomery County. Null is a nice person. He’s very articulate. He loves the children and teachers of CISD. He also oversees the largest real estate empire and largest employer in Montgomery County.

The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, continues the tradition of listing the Power Top Ten, the ten most powerful people in Montgomery County. The Power Top Ten doesn’t commemorate the ten best people in Montgomery County necessarily, but the most powerful people who are actually able to accomplish political or policy goals. In other words, she or he can get things done in Montgomery County. This year is the sixth that The Golden Hammer is publishing this list. In 2016, the former Publisher of this newspaper published the list on social media before this newspaper began.

To date, this newspaper has named two individuals in the Power Top Ten:

#10: Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Wayne Mack

#9: Businessman and power broker Simon Sequeira

#8: Conroe ISD Superintendent Curtis Null

Curtis Null, Conroe Independent School District’s (CISD) Superintendent, is the eighth most powerful person in Montgomery County. Null oversees a multi-billion dollar real estate empire, runs the county’s largest school district, collects more taxes from private citizens than any other governmental entity, and does all of that with hardly any fetters at all (other than the state and federal education bureaucracies).

Null is a wonderful communicator. He holds a doctorate in “leadership” and he’s very good at that.

Curtis Null is a nice guy and has a gift for coming across that way when he makes presentations to groups such as the Chamber of Commerce meetings which love every word emanating from his mouth. There’s a nicer and better version of Null, however, which one gets to see when he visits school campuses. There’s no question whatsoever that Null loves the children of CISD. He enjoys seeing them thrive academically and in athletics the latter of which was his primary means of rising through the administration of the school district.

The two school bond referenda in 2019 tell part of an important story about how Null harnesses power to get CISD the money he and the other top-level administrators want to borrow, tax, and spend. The first referendum, $807 million, was far too ambitious and included far too much truthful information for voters to evaluate it and come to the decision that it was a terrible proposal. It failed on May 4, 2019.

The second referendum, $653 million, was actually the same as the first (with two relatively small changes) but with (1) far less information made available to voters, (2) far more careful control of the limited information the school district disseminated, (3) a political campaign using tax dollars rather than private contributions from the vendors who will benefit from the construction contracts under the bond package, and (4) some financial skullduggery to make the proposal appear far more benign to the bottom line of taxpayers than it really was. The second referendum also benefitted from the Texas Legislature’s decision in House Bill 3 and Senate Bill 2 during the 86th Legislative Session to spend the state surplus on so-called “property tax relief” which was actually nothing of the sort and on a teacher pay raise ($1,000 of which was “discretionary” and provided Null and the school district with a tool to scare teachers into campaigning openly for passage of the bond). It passed on November 5, 2019, although a $23.7 million Proposition B for artificial turf thankfully failed. Null got it passed.

Null has had a very strong 2020, 2021, and 2022. Unlike many school districts which suffered difficult community relations with their communities during the pandemic, Null masterfully juggled many parent, teacher, student, and community concerns. These two years clearly put Null’s remarkable political skills on full display.

Null showed he could harness his resources to get done what he and CISD’s vendors wanted to get done. That is the definition of “power” in this series of articles in The Golden Hammer.

Curtis Null truly gets things done, which primarily means to permit CISD to prosper while delivering a fairly good educational product to its students.

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