STEPHENVILLE (April 22, 2018)– This interview is part of a series on the Stephenville ISD school board candidates. All interviews took place via email. In order to preserve objectivity, the interviews remain in Q and A format.
What is your opinion of the SISD bond and why do you feel that way?
I am in favor of the bond. While many of us don’t want to see an increase in taxes, there comes a time when it is essential for our students, teachers, and community. This bond isn’t a bandaid improvement. Every student on these campuses will receive the benefit of the renovations and new construction. It will allow our students to continue to grow and flourish. Education cannot be bought at a discount. We owe it to our students to give them the financial support they need by ensuring the facilities within SISD are second to none.
What is your opinion on the tax rate set by the school board?
The board has looked at alternatives to maximize revenues from the state to minimize the burden of local tax dollars. We were able to do this with the TRE swap. Just to be clear, the revenues from the state on the swap was for Maintenance and Operation. What is being proposed for the bond doesn’t deal with that side for our tax dollars. That tax rate is used only for new construction and renovations.
Maintaining a local tax rate is extremely important in looking for ways to gather more revenue from the state, not local tax dollars.
What is the area that the school board needs to improve the most in?
I am very proud of the accomplishments of this board during the 7 years I have served. We have increased our general fund balance by 8.73%, introduced our I Champion program, given teachers and staff pay raises. My favorite part of our meetings is when we do our proclamations for achievements that our students have earned. Personally, if I have to pick an improvement, it would be for myself. I want to be a better and stronger voice for our students and teachers.
What is the greatest issue facing Stephenville ISD?
One issue is obviously facilities. This is the very reason the facility planning committee has spent 9 months in coming up with a proposal. There were over $100 million that the needs assessment showed. They were able to cut that to 60 million.
Another issue is to continue teacher pay raises. We need to continue to attract the best teachers possible to SISD. There are children in our community that the only semblance of normalcy they have, the only constant in their lives, are the hours they spend within the walls of our schools. Their shepherds through this time are our teachers.
What is your opinion of teachers concealing and carrying on campus?
We already have teachers on the front lines every day. They are given the task of educating every single student. So now what we are saying to them is that not only do they have to teach, but they have to protect them too. I would be willing to look at many options for school safety, but not this one. Having students and faculty feel safe in our schools is the foundation of providing an environment of learning.
How should the district deal with drugs in the schools?
While we may like to stick our heads in the sand, there is a drug problem in Stephenville. There appears to be a drug problem in just about every community in our country. I believe education about drugs should start in homes and continue through our education system. We need to be the intervention for many of our students. The district works alongside our law enforcement to provide education, help, and counseling to those who are in need.
How involved should the school board be with decision making for programs within the schools?
The job of the school board is primarily to be fiscally responsible for the running of the district. We are not micro managers. However, we are given the responsibility to approve or not to approve recommendations from the superintendent dealing with hiring, budgets, contracts, etc. The board should be and is involved with deciding what programs should be included in the district. Once these decisions are made, we need to get out of the way and let our teachers do their jobs.
What is your current employment?
I taught in Stephenville for 28 years and had the honor of being the director for the TSU Texan Stars and the SHS Stingerettes. Currently, I am the property manager for Hayden Real Estate and am truly blessed to work for Eric and Jamie Hayden.
How long have you lived in this district?
My entire lifetime
Do you have any children or relatives that attend Stephenville ISD?
All of our boys attended SISD and we currently have some of our grandchildren in the district.
In what ways are you already involved in the district?
I am serving my 7th year on the SISD Board of Trustees