The Springtown Epigraph posed the following questions to candidates for board of trustees for Springtown ISD.
1. In 200 words or less, describe yourself, why you’re seeking this position, what you hope to bring to the council, and any experience that would benefit you if elected as a trustee.
2. The 2017 Tax Ratification Election brought in additional funds for the district that it hasn’t had in the past. Following the trustee election, the board of trustees will begin its budget process for the 2018-19 fiscal year; to what sorts of programs would you support directing those funds?
3. Public education in Texas is experiencing a financial crisis as failed attempts by the state legislature to reorganize its funding of education in the 2017 session again left local districts forced to tax local property owners at high levels when compared to other taxing entities (cities, counties, etc.) to raise enough funds to operate. Education funding is expected to again be a major issue during the 2019 legislative session. What input would you give to our local state representatives to help them make correct decision to ensure education is funded while relieving some of the burden on local tax payers?
4. Springtown ISD prepares students for life after graduation through its vocational and dual credit programs. In addition to the current opportunities for students, what programs would you like to see the district add to both the elementary and secondary levels to continue to foster that preparation?
5. Current events nationwide have again brought school security to the forefront of pressing needs facing all schools. What types of programs would you work to have implemented to ensure SISD campuses are adequately secured?
Here are the answers we received.
Elizabeth” Tootie” Hall
My name is Elizabeth Hall, “Tootie” to most people I know. I’m a city slicker turned country girl when I married the late Jerry Hall. I have had an exceptional 53 plus years in Springtown, raised three children who are graduates of SHS and two of those three now teach in SISD.
I served on the School Board from 1983-1993, five of those years as Board President. During those ten years, I learned what it meant to oversee a school district. I would like to serve again to become a part of our great district as it grows through the coming years. I bring to the Board protocol experience, business management experience, and a heart for the children and teachers in this district. Many of the policies and procedures remain the same as three decades ago, as mandated by law, only on a larger scale. I have been fortunate to be involved with the schools through work with the Springtown Education Foundation, Neighbor to Neighbors Food Pantry, our local Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors as well as Ambassador work with the Chamber. I have recently become a CASA Advocate which nudged me to run for the Board.
2. First of all, the voters in SISD are to be commended for the great support of the Tax Ratification. I would like to see the budget workshop focus on raises for teachers. Dan Patrick politicked to give each teacher in Texas a $10,000 raise. I would love to see that happen. What Patrick didn’t add in his campaign is, the State would not be giving districts money for those awesome raises, they would come from local funds or rather local taxpayers. TRE funds can’t be used to build additional buildings or facilities, but can be used for curriculum, pay raises, and enhancement to current programs plus the addition of more programs and courses. Additional personnel could very well be needed in the near future with the developments going up in and around the Springtown area.
3. In 1876, 45 million acres was proclaimed public domain for the Permanent School Fund to finance public education in Texas. HB72 in 1984 was created to “revamp the funding system” in Texas. 1995 found SB1 as a “complete overhaul of the Texas Education Code”. Seven years later in 2002, the Legislature devised the “No Child Left Behind” program making teachers and districts more accountable. Every year the Legislature mandates new programs to appear to be resolutions in the Education Funding system. Unfortunately, the Legislature gives no additional money to fund these mandates. Districts are still paid on ADA, Average Daily Attendance numbers, and the Robin Hood decree for richer districts to give to poorer districts. 2017, 2018 found no successful discussion, Bills, or resolutions. It should be hotly addressed in 2019 and hopefully enough new blood is being sent to Austin to get some relief to taxpayers. The program, property taxes, existing since 1876 when the first Permanent School seems to be alive and well. We are still depending on revenue from dirt but it seems the best we can do.
4. As President of the Education Foundation, I have seen a shift in graduating seniors’ struggle between college, vocational, and trade school choices. The Foundation funded $48,000.00 in scholarships last May. Ten of the applicants receiving scholarships were planning to attend Medical, Electrical, Welding, and Agriculture based vocational schools. In 2016, there were only two seniors asking for assistance in the Trades instead of college. The dual credit courses and our current vocational programs are outstanding. I would like to see programs in Intermediate and Middle School to have an opportunity to participate in limited access to vocational programs appropriate to their age. With the designation of an “Innovative District” we can perhaps add some programs to get the younger students involved in their educational decision processes early.
5. SISD Administration has brought safety measures to our schools to keep our students safe. Are they enough? We won’t know until they’re tested which we hope never comes. Chief Motley and his force have implemented programs, trainings and drills to be prepared in the event of a shooter. Visitors on any campus are now required to sign in at the front office and receive a sticker indicating their need to be on campus, i.e., visitor, vendor, PTA. What I have seen so far tells me the district has reacted in a positive way to protect our kids without locking them down daily. I have four grandchildren attending Springtown Schools and the thought of them being harmed, as well as classmates, cannot be imagined. Perhaps we begin with making sure kids aren’t being bullied, our kids are taught to bring information to teachers and staff that is dangerous to the student body, respect each other and the staff on each campus.