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pt-square logoI received a call last Wednesday from Dr. Kenneth White, former Mission CISD superintendent. While he retired years ago, he continues to have a keen interest in Mission and particularly in Mission schools.

Although he recently had to move to the Dallas area to be near family, due to health reasons, he said he reads the Progress Times regularly to follow what is going on in Mission. And that is what prompted his phone call.

He expressed concern that one of the candidates for Mission school board, Marcie Gonzalez Acosta who is running in Place 1, said she wanted to make sure the Alton campuses are up to par in comparison with the rest of the school district.

What was not expressly stated in the Progress Times news story published April 18, is that Acosta is making this part of her platform for the election – to represent Alton schools.

This is the very thing that bothered Dr. White. He pointed out that the school board members are elected to represent all of the students in the school district, not just Alton, or any other subset area.

He mentioned that there are districts that do have board members elected to represent only specified areas within the school district, such as Laredo.

“That’s just a poor way to run a district,” he said.

I agree wholeheartedly. I believe her platform – her philosophy – is divisive and counterproductive. We don’t need board members who have set agendas that serve only a few. Our school board members must serve all of the students with equal vigor.

Further, the implication in Acosta’s campaign for Alton schools is that those schools are substandard in comparison with the rest of the district. My sources tell me that is not the case. The Alton schools are among the best in the district.

Dr. White reminded me that when Alton district consolidated with Mission, forming Mission Consolidated Independent School District many years ago, Alton was struggling and just did not have the financial resources to provide a quality education for the students living in Alton. Dr. White, who was superintendent at the time, pushed for the consolidation because he wanted those kids to get a better education – the kind of education they deserved.

No one is short-changing Alton. Mission CISD has invested the resources to ensure all of the district’s students receive a good education.

“I’m concerned about the philosophy of [Marcie Acosta]. That’s not right. And you can’t have a successful district based on a flawed philosophy,” he said.

I agree with Dr. White; I cannot support a candidate with such a flawed philosophy.

MCISD A+ Team Candidates

Speaking of the Mission CISD board election, one of the slates of candidates, called the A+ Team is comprised of three educators. On the surface, that may sound good to some who might say they know education, due to their experience.

While I agree it is beneficial to have input on the board or trustees from the perspective of the teachers, we must be careful not to overweight the teachers’ perspective. The ideal board would be a blend of individuals with different backgrounds, bringing strengths and expertise in different areas, including education.

Besides, the current board members can tell you, they hear from the teachers continually. Their voice is not unheard, regardless of whether they are on the board.

We need other voices to be heard in the boardroom. We need people who will represent the community, not just the teachers. Do we want teachers deciding whether teachers get raises and how much those raises are? Don’t we need other areas of expertise on the board, including finance, construction, insurance and management?

While I will not tell you whom I will vote for, I will tell you I will not support any of the slates. Instead, I will pick individuals from different slates. I am looking at the experience, philosophy, wisdom and temperament of each candidate individually. That’s the way I approach every candidate in every election. One’s association with a particular slate or party is no indicator of that person’s capability or fitness for elected office.

Slates can become detrimental, if elected, granting too much power to a few people sharing the same philosophy, which may not be what is best for the district or the students.

We need to elect people who truly want to serve the community, not themselves or their friends. A good heart is a good start, but it is not enough. We need to elect people who are intelligent and wise and who will devote the time needed to study the issues and problems as they arise. We need analytical minds that can sort through complicated matters, ask the right questions and persist until problems are solved.

I have not voted yet, and don’t intend to until either the last day of early voting, or election day. Why? I want to wait to see what comes out during the campaign. Often, as Election Day draws near, new information comes out about the candidates that may affect my vote.

My advice to all is to get to know the candidates and study their platforms. Learn of their backgrounds and what they will bring to the table, if elected. Seek out the wise, level-headed candidates who will serve with integrity and vigor.

Be sure to vote and vote wisely.

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