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Sharyland ISD School Board Trustee, Place 1

20140509 Ricky-LongoriaRicky Longoria
Age: 48
Education: BBA Accounting – University of Texas at Austin
Occupation: Partner – Burton McCumber & Cortez, LLP
Certified Public Accountant and Certified Fraud Examiner.
Previous elected positions: Incumbent Candidate

What is the biggest concern you have about the school district and how would you fix it?

Sharyland is a District that is growing and now opening two additional high schools. It is a District that is challenged by changes in curriculum and how it impacts teachers and students. Issues remain related to school finance and school accountability. My broad background and practical real world experience will ultimately provide guidance on how many of these challenges should be addressed. I will continue to work with the existing Board and obtain input from the community and teachers in the classroom to ensure we are moving in the right direction.

The current board members postponed plans for a $3 million natatorium. How would you address the issue if elected to office?

The postponement of the plans for the natatorium was based on the acceptance of the District’s application by TEA to create an Early College High School. The timing of both the projects coming to fruition and consideration of the costs related to funding both projects concurrently, required the District to make a choice in determining which project proceeds first. As it is the District’s priority to provide educational opportunities for kids, it was agreed to begin first with the Early College High School

Because Sharyland ISD demographics don't match other school districts in the area with more low-income students, the district struggles to get grant and state funding for projects. What should the district do to bring in more revenues for its students' education?

For the reasons described, the District has struggled to obtain grant and state funding for projects. Many of the more significant grants require someone with extensive experience and knowledge in grant writing to maximize the District’s chances for success. That is why in 2014, the Board and I voted for the hiring of a grant writing consultant who has the required expertise in writing grants in a manner that favors the District and its demographics.

House Bill 5 will be introduced to school districts during the 2014-2015 school years. Sharyland ISD is smaller than surrounding school districts and has less staff. If elected, how do you plan to support the transition for counselors, staff and students to the use of endorsements?

House Bill 5 certainly presents many new challenges to the District. Unfortunately, the educational process is constantly changing. As with other changes which the District has addressed successfully, I will ensure counselors and staff are provided the training necessary for implementation. I will ensure students and their parents are fully informed as to the decisions they must make upon entering high school. As with any new requirement, there will be an additional cost to the District and therefore, I will ensure resources are available to counselors and staff to ensure a smooth transition. If additional hiring is necessary to facilitate this transition certainly that would be a consideration. Finally, I will continue to make myself available to the community to obtain feedback to ensure the transition is going smoothly.


 

20140509 Alexander-RodriguezAlejandro Rodriguez III

Age: 45 years old
Education: BBA in International Business Management from University of Texas-Pan American
Occupation: Criminal Investigator/Special Agent for the Dept. of the Interior

What is the biggest concern you have about the school district and how would you fix it?

The biggest concern that the district faces is how to manage the tremendous growth it has experienced with the limited fiscal resources available. This issue is not unique to Sharyland ISD but it does pose unique challenges to us because of the limited amount of governmental funding due to our demographics. Our teachers need the adequate tools and resources to accomplish the most important job in this country- the education of our children. As a trustee I would ensure that there exist a fair balance between academic and athletic programs and the funding allotted to each.

The current board members postponed plans for a $3 million natatorium. How would you address the issue if elected to office?

Our swimming and diving team is phenomenal and coach Jensen and her staff have done a tremendous job in that capacity but I believe that for the time being we must work with the City of Mission and the use of Bannworth Natatorium. A district natatorium would be a great addition to this community and I would support it only if it meant that our taxes would not be raised. This facility would not only serve our swim and dive teams but could also be used to offer swimming and water safety classes to our elementary students and provide aquatic therapy for cognitively disabled students.

Because Sharyland ISD demographics don't match other school districts in the area with more low-income students, the district strugglesto get grant and state funding for projects. What should the district do to bring in more revenues for its students' education?

We need to continue to control truancy in order to avoid losing much-needed WADA funding. This might entail hiring another truancy officer. Furthermore, even though grant and state funding have been curtailed due to our demographics, we must continue to pursue these monies. Lastly, the Sharyland Education Foundation continues to be a huge asset in providing funding for district-wide projects.

House Bill 5 will be introduced to school districts during the 2014-2015 school year. Sharyland ISD is smaller than surrounding school districts and has less staff. If elected, how do you plan to support the transition for counselors, staff and students to the use of endorsements?

It is important to realize that districts are not required to offer all the endorsements under House Bill 5 and as such I believe Sharyland ISD has the resources in place, including teachers, counselors, and administrators, to successfully transition to the use of endorsements.

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