Candidate Q&A’s: Humble ISD trustee Position 4


Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

What issues do you believe HISD needs to address in its academic program and offerings? What changes would you recommend?

MAH: The most urgent challenge HISD must face is in-person and online learning during the pandemic. HISD has been very nimble in making the switch to dual-learning environments. As we face another year of dual-learning environments, HISD must now make dual learning a standard approach to executing on its mission. Online learning must have the same experience in terms of success as in-person. That means professional training of teachers and purchase of next-level technology must happen immediately.

What part of the district’s budget is overfunded or underfunded? How would you begin to address this?

MAH: I believe the district is managing the budget appropriately. However, I would like to see more focus on ways to increase teacher salaries. This will, in turn, retain top talent and attract the best and brightest to HISD. I would address this by initially forming a steering committee/focus group on ways to increase teachers’ salaries through various common methods and also thinking outside of the box on how to increase this budgetary line item.

What changes should be made on the state and local levels regarding public education?

MAH: The greatest challenge we face at the state level which affects local education is the $18 billion yet to be released to our Texas schools from our state government. These funds are here to help in eliminating the gaps that have formed due to the pandemic. As stated in a previous answer, HISD’s biggest challenge is in-person/online learning. These federal funds allocated to the state of Texas could assist in purchasing better technology and professional development of our teachers.

What issues do you believe HISD needs to address in its academic program and offerings? What changes would you recommend?

LJ: I think the greatest challenge is student support services. We must make sure all students have an individualized education plan that meets their needs, areas of concerns, and strengths. Parents and students must be included in that planning and the process thereof. I would want the board to make it mandatory that all students have that plan and that it is monitored by campus leadership per grading cycle.

What part of the district’s budget is overfunded or underfunded? How would you begin to address this?

LJ: Based on my limited knowledge of the budget, I’m unable to suggest any funding cuts at this time. Based on the Public Education Information Management System data I reviewed, I would strongly consider adding funding to the following programs: special education, career and technical education department, and 504 [Plan] programs.

What changes should be made on the state and local levels regarding public education?

LJ: I would support the state giving more autonomy to the districts in regards to programs funding and curriculum structure. Campus improvement plans are tailored for each campus. I believe funding needs and curriculum needs should be tailored for each campus. I would push for changes regarding this structure.

What issues do you believe HISD needs to address in its academic program and offerings? What changes would you recommend?

JB: Virtual teaching is a pressing issue. The current expectations for teachers doing virtual classrooms are unrealistic. Students are failing because teachers have had classroom management and face-to-face influence taken away. Teachers are also dealing with technology that is not user-friendly. If we are going to properly education in a virtual environment, teachers have to be given the tools and influence needed to succeed in a virtual environment and be compensated appropriately.

What part of the district’s budget is overfunded or underfunded? How would you begin to address this?

JB: This has been an incredibly tough year. Everyone has had to go above and beyond. For that reason, I would say that nothing is currently overfunded. I believe, however, that the new normal will force us to prioritize teaching skills even more than in the past. That will mean more funding for teachers and resources for teachers.

What changes should be made on the state and local levels regarding public education?

JB: School infrastructure is vitally important. Crowded schools have lower attendance and higher dropout rates. It is important that we have the school space needed to properly host our children. Temporary buildings should be temporary. Going forward, it will be important for the district to keep up with growing student population by providing needed new schools and infrastructure. It will be a continuous priority in the coming years.

What issues do you believe HISD needs to address in its academic program and offerings? What changes would you recommend?

KK: Providing more opportunities for English-language learners, economically disadvantaged and at-risk students. Make sure that these students can take advantage [of] these school choices. I also would have more project-based learning in grades K-8. Also, an increased ratio of special education teachers so that inclusion students can be served more effectively.

What part of the district’s budget is overfunded or underfunded? How would you begin to address this?

KK: Technology seems to be underfunded. School technology should be one-to-one. Funding should be spent on more staffing instead of programs and materials.

What changes should be made on the state and local levels regarding public education?

KK: Less focus on standardized testing. More meaningful ways to show student academic growth, such as portfolios and not just multiple-choice tests. I would also like to see more focus on teacher professional development in planning time. Maybe a more flexible calendar for teacher planning days.

What issues do you believe HISD needs to address in its academic program and offerings? What changes would you recommend?

CS: HISD has, in my opinion, a great overall academic offering for our students. With that being said, I believe there are gaps that need to be addressed with technology in our primary schools, dual-language programs over bilingual programs, primarily in the Title 1 schools, and more focus on career and technical programs in our high schools.

What part of the district’s budget is overfunded or underfunded? How would you begin to address this?

CS: I can’t specifically state an area that is over- or underfunded but would like to see more funding be placed in areas that need gaps filled to accomplish an equal opportunity for every student—specifically, in the areas of student safety, programs to combat bullying, dual-language programs and increased availability of CTE programs.

What changes should be made on the state and local levels regarding public education?

CS: I believe that there should be more localized governing of school systems and less state-mandated requirements. This would allow each school district to tailor their programs and curriculum to meet the needs of the communities they serve while still maintaining a high standard [of] education for every student.



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