Humble ISD board candidates see growth, funding as biggest challenges
- Written by Patsy Oliver
For the next several weeks, The Tribune will be publishing a weekly question-and-answer column focused on the May 10 Humble ISD board of trustees election. Each candidate will have the opportunity to answer the question of the week. On April 16, the candidates have been invited to appear at the Kingwood Country Club at 11:30 by the Kingwood Area Republican Women. Call 281-360-7457 for information Trustee Dave Martin is unopposed for re-election to Position 6. QUESTION: What do you think is the most pressing issue facing Humble ISD? Brent Engelage Without a doubt, the most important issue facing Humble ISD is the ongoing dilemma of balancing limited revenues with our district’s ever-growing needs. Our teachers deserve raises. (They are paid well below the area “average”). Our existing schools need improvements. (As a member of the 2008 Bond Study Committee, we were required to slash over 70 million dollars in improvements to our schools.) We continue to grow at ever-increasing rates in the southern part of our district. Our current school board and administration are doing a great job in this balancing act. I’m looking forward to helping them! Vernon Reed Overcrowding is the most pressing issue. While I commend the board for the work they have performed thus far, I look forward to the opportunity to work with them to address this issue. I am confident we can put together a package that would help. I would take an in-depth look at the current boundaries for our schools and how these are established. We also need to see if there is room for expansion of our current schools. Expansion is less expensive. I would like to see expansions built onto our current schools, instead of T-buildings, then look at building new schools. I feel demographic studies may need to be addressed more frequently in these areas. GLENN REDMON Classroom education – we must continue providing students with resources and support to keep pace with increasing demands in learning standards. Jeremy Wilkerson There have been some tough issues facing the district recently. I believe the most pressing of the issues is the lack of government funding. With proper funds many of the problems could be alleviated. The decision to cut programs, positions or assorted items from the district has been a tough one. When these decisions are made, they need to be made as far from the classroom as possible. I would like the opportunity to look outside of the box for more funding and continue to make sure the education of the students is not affected by these decisions. ARTHUR BURBANO Educating all children. MATTHEW CAVENAUGH Growing pains and financial challenges are the greatest issues facing our schools and our district. I know that’s technically two issues but I believe they are two sides to the same coin. While our community has undoubtedly benefited from the exponential growth, keeping pace financially will be incredibly difficult. As we add new campuses and new facilities to keep pace with growth in certain areas, we must always remain conscious that growth outside our financial means can have detrimental consequences, such as onerous property taxes, or providing resources to newer schools at the cost of depriving our old ones. VICTORIA CLAPP Providing facilities and teachers to respond to our rapid growth continues to be our biggest challenge. The financial constraints placed on the district by the state only exacerbate the problem. Without financial relief we will be forced to make hard decisions concerning both extracurricular and academic offerings. NANCY COZAD Most people would agree that the lack of sufficient funds is our biggest challenge in this district. Our teachers are being asked to do more and more with less and less. Unfortunately, our legislators have not been helpful to this point, so each campus must use creative resources to meet their educational goals for the students. MICHAEL RAFFERTY Did not provide answer by news deadline. ROBERT SCARFO The most pressing issue we face as a district is adequately responding to the high rate of enrollment growth. We face another multi-million dollar deficit next year. The state funding system works at a disadvantage to fast-growth districts. As we add taxable units, the revenue generated is reduced by a like amount of state funding. The state says more revenue should come from local rate hikes. I don’t agree. Recently, gymnastics students were told funding would not continue. The lack of communication/collaboration was a serious issue in itself. But a real positive that occurred from this district misstep, was a reminder of how powerful a “grass-roots” effort can be. We need to harness this power, and direct it at our state officials to create an equitable financing system.