LISD board candidates

Lewisville ISD Board of Trustees candidates

Place 6

Name: Jon Hanna

City: Lewisville

Number of years in district: Currently 19 months, but prior residency in Flower Mound from 2000 to 2010

History of service: None

What is your opinion about the bond package as presented, and what ideas do you have for funding if it doesn’t pass?

My opinion makes no difference right now, as the bond is already set for a vote. If it should not pass, I don’t know how the district could come up with something anywhere near that amount of money without another bond. We would definitely need to get input from the community to understand why it didn’t pass and based on those findings, we could pursue another bond that takes those findings into account. Budget cutting where possible could free up funds for bond items that the board wants, but can’t get support from the community.

What types of technology devices in the classroom should the district focus on?

I think we need to do a hard review of technology in the classroom, not only for students, but also for teachers. I’m not convinced increasing technology is necessary.

What are your priorities for the budget? Any programs that need to be increase/decreased?

My priorities are better teacher pay and healthcare.

What in the district needs to change, if anything?

Other than the priorities above, I have nothing specific to suggest at this point.

Name: Eric Parker

City:  The Colony

Number of years in district: 23

History of service:

History of volunteering at Hebron high school, Richland College and Collin College and using the election cycle to bring light to issues that may be dismissed.

What is your opinion about the bond package as presented, and what ideas do you have for funding if it doesn’t pass?

I am not allowed to advocate for or against the bond. “Strategic Design” is a failed policy which has lead the school district into different areas of interpretation when packaging the bond. I would replace strategic design with L.E.A.R.N which stands for Language, Education, Access, Readiness and Navigation; laying out a direct platform and vision for being involved in education. It would be an outline i would embed as policy to influence arguments for committees and the board on issues that affects education without miscommunication on the purpose. Funding should address curricular concerns, future applications for data investment to drive policy. Pre-K investments to save tax money in the long run and addressing future building designs; which determine the amount of teachers to hire. Transparency on the bond package and the budget specific can be found at Parker4lisd.com

What types of technology devices in the classroom should the district focus on?

I am not expert on technology. As a healthcare worker I can provide specific function the technology should adopt or adapt too when it comes to helping students in education.

Technology should address and promote psychology development in textile, auditorial, visual and social learning – Piaget and vygotsky theory. Technology must address safety concerns on possible seizure development. The technology should provide accessibility and easy navigation for 504 students and IEP plans. Technology used cannot create a false narrative in work application and real life situations. Technology should be used as a side tool for teacher curriculum; not to replace the teacher. The application should promote data that allows the district to review curriculum assessment easier and efficiently.  

What are your priorities for the budget? Any programs that need to be increase/decreased?

There needs to be a balance budget in the M/O tax rate and I/S tax rate that does not reflect a ($1.6) mark and hopefully remove the deficit. The board must act as a team with better understanding of the local economic demographics of each zone when making such decisions as the board. My priorities for the budget are finding ways to relief tax payers from the burden of local property taxes ,  remove wasteful spending  and finding programs that are better off as being self-sufficient fee base then tax money usage. Review of the health insurance plan provided to teacher and competitors in what is packaged vs what tax money will be spent.  Any money saved should be directed back into the general funds.  

What in the district needs to change, if anything?

The district needs to change its professionalism on how to handle harassment and violence in public education. There are too often situations when the district is aware of a student being involved with harassments or violence yet failed the parents by not acting accordingly.  This is a reoccurring theme and it’s a result of not having a time intervention policy that promotes better accountability to help the parents of lisd.

Time is critical, Time intervention is necessary.

Name: Kristi Hassett

City: Flower Mound

Number of years in district: 35

History of service: Current LISD Trustee Place 6. I am also on the boards of both TAMSA, Texans Advocating for Meaningful Student Assessment, and Make Education a Priority. I have volunteered with PTA for the past 13 years, three years volunteering with YMSL, Young Men’s Service League and 10 years volunteering for Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.

What is your opinion about the bond package as presented, and what ideas do you have for funding if it doesn’t pass?

I like the package that was presented because I like the process we went through for this bond package. The district asked for real community input, more than it had in previous bonds. I am glad the committee was able to provide input on a few facilities that have had needs since before the 2008 bond. Funding is more difficult now than in previous bonds. When the state compressed school district tax rates in 2005, they took away the ability for districts to pay for a few items out of the Maintenance and Operations (M&O) budget. Salaries constitute over 80% of LISD’s M&O budget. It would take 36 years for the district to save up to build a $36 million elementary school if we cut 20 teachers a year with an average salary at $50,000. School districts are limited by the current state school finance system. The good thing about a bond versus using M&O funds is, with the bond, the community has a choice as to whether they want to invest in their school district; the community does not vote on the district’s M&O budget.

What types of technology devices in the classroom should the district focus on?

Technology should be used to enhance the learning provided by the teacher. There should be a variety of choices because devices have different strengths and weaknesses. Individual devices can greatly aide a dyslexic student by providing a personalized format to the text. Devices can also help audio learners by assisting in reading stories or instructions to the student. The scientific calculators on tablets can also be used on the STAAR, saving parents money. PCs can be helpful when typing a paper or project. The district should focus on student learning through the curriculum and the teachers should choose the best tool to instill knowledge.

What are your priorities for the budget? Any programs that need to be increase/decreased?

The district has increased budgeting needs with the students entering LISD. LISD has more students than ever before coming in as English language learners, socio-economically disadvantaged, special needs, and gifted and talented. These students require additional services. My priority would be to ensure all students receive the support they needed.

What in the district needs to change, if anything?

I would like to see easier access to information. The campuses and district have multiple events going continuously. I would like to see a better communication vehicle to connect our parents and community to our schools and district.

Name: Peter Rabner

City: Lewisville

Number of years in district: 7-plus

History of service (boards, commissions, organizations): Active in Boy Scouts of America (previous Cubmaster and Scoutmaster)

What is your opinion about the bond package as presented, and what ideas do you have for funding if it doesn’t pass?

I believe that several items are needed, several are wants, and several fall in between. However, I believe that under the current financial burden of $1.2 billion, most of the projects cannot be afforded at this time. For more than 20 years, the district has steadily increased its debt. We are wanting everything now and are making future generations pay for it. The FAC did not consider the needs beyond 5 years, yet the bond will be paid for over 20 years with $366 million in interest, that’s approximately 50 percent additional over the $737 million.

Bonds are needed for school improvements, but I believe that the district should only be building as fast as it can pay cash for its improvements. If we cash flow improvements until the current debt is paid off and continue afterwards, the I&S tax can drop to half to one-third of the current rate and the district would be able to build at its desirable rate of this bond.

What types of technology devices in the classroom should the district focus on?

Generally speaking, I believe that we need to make better use of the ones we currently have, mainly the iPad. We have invested in these, so we need to make sure they are being used to their fullest potential. Additional technology can and should be added for select courses to better improve the learning experience.

What are your priorities for the budget? Any programs that need to be increase/decreased?

My priority is to get the district into a financially sound position to cash flow (pay cash) for improvements. By removing $10’s of millions of interest payments from the budget, we’ll then have the funds to support and increase the programs that the students desire.

What in the district needs to change, if anything?

The thought that sacrificing the future for our immediate wants is unacceptable. People spend decades trying to pay off their homes to have that sense of freedom and security. Most people don’t refinance and draw out their equity every 5-10 years because they want something nicer and newer. We save and plan for the future. We know we’ll have to replace the roof someday, so we save for it.

The schools are teaching the students to avoid debt and to pay it off, yet the leaders practice the exact opposite. We need to be the example. You cannot be a district of real innovation with limitless opportunities if continually in debt and don’t have true financial freedom.

Place 7

Name:   Shari A. Chambers

City: Lewisville

Number of years in district:  1 year, 3 months

History of service: I served in Ohio on our PTA school board as treasurer, secretary, vice president and president. Was active with booster clubs, room mom and leader for Girl Scout Daisy Troop and served as cookie mom. I am a majority member of the Masonic Order of Job’s Daughters, a Past Honored Queen and district representative. My community service project was raising funds for a service dog for a blind youth, worked with Special Olympics and raised funds for the Wounded Warriors project. I am currently active with the PTA, room mom, and active with my church.

What is your opinion about the bond package as presented, and what ideas do you have for funding if it doesn’t pass?

I feel that as the bond proposal currently stands it does not meet all of our district’s needs.  While it offers many projects to several schools, it does not cover many of our schools that are in need of repair and renovation that have gone unattended due to a lack of budgeting. Many of the items on the Bond proposal are needed but not immediate needs.  I believe it is imperative that we take a step back and determine truly how financially sound our district is from top to bottom in all areas.  Make sure we can fund the programs we have in place now before adding new programs that need additional funding.

What types of technology devices in the classroom should the district focus on?

Currently the district is strongly supporting the 1:X program which provides students with a variety of devices; “The right technology at the right time.” I believe the implementation of this program was a sound idea; however we need to make sure that it does not become more prevalent than our Teachers and classroom interaction. Our students need to learn how to socialize, and interact with each other, not just with a computer.

What are your priorities for the budget? Any programs that need to be increase/decreased?

The budget would include planning for the future refresh, renovating normal projects at each campus instead of trying to wrap it into a bond proposal. Programs need to have a true assessment if they are working, showing a value, or need to be removed. In talking with a small group of parents dual language was a concern. Are we really looking at these programs or just continuing everything as a success?   

What in the district needs to change, if anything?

Currently the community is not offered a way to have a conversation with the board at meetings. There is no dialog with the board members, if elected I would vote to have that changed that the board members are allowed to have a conversation with the community, parents, teachers and staff. The board members are a school board; we need to be responsive to our school board community. LISD is $1.2 billion dollars in debt that is extremely more than any other school district of the same size in our area, and now they are asking to add another $737 million. On top of that we are not paying our debt down; we are just refinancing, and possibly have a shortfall in our retirement fund. We need a change, we need a new voice.

Name: Tracy Scott Miller

City: Highland Village

Number of years in district: Over 23 years

History of service:

Public offices:

Lewisville ISD, Place 7 Board of Trustees

Double Oak mayor, sought

Double Oak town councilman, mayor pro tem and treasurer (during an 11-year period)

Other civic activities:

Rotarian; member of The Village Church, Home Group Leader with spouse,

teach Sunday School; mentor at two elementary schools through Communities in Schools and Loving Communities; founded Mat Carriers (connects problem solvers with people in need of solutions); Chapel Springs Homeowners Association President.

What is your opinion about the bond package as presented, and what ideas do you have for funding if it doesn’t pass?

Because of "Robin Hood" (formally the “Chapter 41 Recapture District”), the only real funding mechanism available to school districts that avoids recapture (sending LISD's funds to the state) is bond packages backed by the state’s Permanent School Fund.  LISD has always matched its bond terms to the life of underlying assets, so the district is conservatively using the bond funding mechanism to meet the needs of the district for technology, building replacement and facilities refurbishment.  There really is no other viable funding alternative for Texas school districts.

While LISD's fund balance is healthy, it must remain protected and available to prepare for any state or national transitions in school choice as well as provide for the welfare of our teachers, campuses and student services to fulfill our responsibilities under the Texas Constitution.  It also must be reserved to handle solutions yet to be determined in Texas school finance after the Texas Supreme Court remanded the Texas ISD finance lawsuits back to the legislature.

What types of technology devices in the classroom should the district focus on?

Devices should be for instructional purposes only. Additionally, we should provide access to, or allow students to bring, devices that are essential to master the technology Texas Essential Knowledge & Skills ("TEKS") or the technology components of core TEKS where the state has included a technology requirement.  Four levels of implementations are necessary in my opinion (grades K-3, 4-5, 6-8, and 9-12).  Device class sets should be used in lower elementary grades; students need more tactile learning in the early years.  Grade level and assignments / projects may require the use of different devices.  Different devices may also serve different grade levels better.  For example, some computer programming classes cannot compile code on an iPad or Chromebook.  They require a desktop or laptop with RAM.  Upper grades also benefit from devices with keyboards.

I’m proud of the demonstrable and measurable leadership I’ve brought to the board and district on this issue (as I committed in my 2014 campaign) and I’m very excited about the plans we will be sharing with the board in our upcoming meetings which demonstrate that the modified roll out of 1:X is meaningful, measurable and effective.  

What are your priorities for the budget? Any programs that need to be increase/decreased?

The district is always seeking ways to provide services to its students more efficiently and effectively.  I’m excited as a trustee about the two new elementary STEM academies that the district will be opening. I support programs like AVID that encourage students to pursue more rigorous coursework. LISD's dual credit program gives students the ability to earn college credits while still in high school. The district is opening an academy within The Colony High School that will also encourage more stringent academic excellence.  When in full swing, students in this academy can graduate high school with an Associate’s Degree. The Career Centers offer great options for students to explore specialized fields and to obtain licensing and certifications while still in high school.  I'm proud of innovative programs like these that LISD has implemented.

What in the district needs to change, if anything?

LISD continually works to improve communication with parents and the community.  As the social media landscape changes, LISD must change with it.

The district is working to document building standards so that future construction is more consistent, which improves efficiency, reduces costs, and results in greater equity across the schools.

LISD is striving for more consistency in programs and services across our schools.  The board's decision to give equal GPA weight to advanced placement and dual credit courses will benefit its students, as well.

The district is also increasing partnerships with our communities to provide more solutions and resources to address student substance abuse.

Name:  Sandra Weinstein

City:  Flower Mound

Number of years in district: 1.75 years

History of service: Mentor for Junior Achievement in three states. PTO member and chairperson of 9th grade graduation in a different district. Cub Scout leader. Assistant Baseball Coach. Captain of the AT&T Value Marketing Heart Walk team. Member of several Employee Resource Groups (e.g. Women of AT&T, IDEAL) which perform volunteer services. Committee member for Bring Your Child to Work Day.  Member of AT&T Pioneers. PTA member.

What is your opinion about the bond package as presented, and what ideas do you have for funding if it doesn’t pass?

For the most part the bond is reasonable, though I think ideally it could be broken up into multiple bond packages.  Should the bond not pass, I would recommend taking that step to be sure that the most important items, such as school improvement and infrastructure, pass.  We should also consider leasing technology instead of funding a refresh out of a bond.

What types of technology devices in the classroom should the district focus on?

All technology does not lend itself to efficient learning.  Personal devices are only needed in later grades when students become more savvy and responsible.  In the elementary grades, classroom PCs should be sufficient.  

What are your priorities for the budget? Any programs that need to be increase/decreased?

My main priority in the budget is to ensure children with learning differences are identified in pre-k and kindergarten so their needs can be accommodated to help them achieve their full potential.  Early identification and accommodation can keep kids engaged in learning, avoiding issues with low confidence and self-esteem, improve the graduation rate and ultimately reduce the amount of intervention required to help children catch up at a later date.

I am also interested in increasing funding to support the mental health needs of our students. Today 20 percent of teenagers experience clinical depression. The school is on the front line in identifying at-risk teens.  I would like to see a program implemented to provide support groups for depressed, at-risk teens to teach them skills for dealing with emotions and ways to recognize when they need help.

What in the district needs to change, if anything?

We need to change how we are identifying and accommodating students with learning differences.   Special needs students make up 13.5 percent of the average school population, but in LISD these students only comprise 9.8-10 percent of the population.  This is because instead of identifying students with special needs in Pre-K or kindergarten, some schools are failing to identify these students until third or fourth or fifth grade. Undoubtedly, some students are never identified, and are not able to achieve their full potential.  If these children can be identified and accommodated early on, they have a greatly increased chance for success and engagement.

We also need to change how we engage parents.  Today most communication is via email and website, but not everyone has access to a computer.  Text messaging is something nearly everyone is able to access.  We are doing this in the community today for important announcements, and some schools have had success with texting as a low-cost way to keep parents engaged both with the school and their child’s performance.

Follow us on Twitter!

@FMLeaderNews

Like us on Facebook!

TheLeaderNews

You must be logged in to react.
Click any reaction to login.
0
0
0
0
0

Recommended for you

Load comments