Well, as you know, I used to be a teacher and decided to stay home and help my husband full time on our farm with cattle and three kids and all that stuff. So I completely stepped out of my comfort zone, but I learned a lot, and I really enjoyed the last four years working with the administration and learning how the board works and we all learned how to work together. I feel like we even learned more – who knew we would go through a pandemic by making totally out of the ordinary decisions. We have learned and grown a lot. We also had a vision. We defined that and were very specific about what we wanted to do and how we were going to get there. Over the past four years, I feel like we’ve done a lot of those things. I’m running again because there’s more we want to do. We still have projects. I just feel like we’re on a roll here. I would like to continue to serve our students and our teachers.

Why did you choose to run for the school board?

From teaching, I knew there was a great need for facilities. I knew we had a great need for technology. I have invested heavily in this community with my children and potential grandchildren. I wanted to see this neighborhood continue to grow and succeed and I knew there were many needs and the bond was above that. Once we started the research we knew we had to pass on the connection and get the community behind us and work with the community to make our schools grow. If you look at any kind of research, the city told us from the beginning: to bring in businesses, to bring in people, the first thing they do is look at your schools. When the town leader wants to show a business owner, he wants to see the schools. They want to see where their employee will start sending their children to school. It was a fork, frankly. When they went to see dilapidated 40-year-old schools, they may have chosen another city that was progressing. That’s why, you know, we kind of flip-flopped. Companies are coming, they are interested and they see these new buildings. I think it gives hope and pride to our children and they deserve it. Twenty years ago – I didn’t grow up here but my husband did – twenty years ago, twenty five years ago now (I’m getting old here), almost 30 years Plainview was a powerhouse electric. When they were in town for a sporting event or any type of event, people were taking note. For some reason, this kind of had fallen off.

I knew there were also morale issues in the district. It’s something we’re still working on and another reason I still want to race. These are issues I think all schools in Texas and the United States face in education and it’s a fight I’m willing to stay in and help because there is a shortage of teachers and I have the impression that they pay. There are a lot of things that come from the state and I am ready to fight for them.

What makes you fit to stand for school elections?

So what makes you qualified to race? I would say that is my experience as a teacher. I am mom. I am a taxpayer. We have land. So I understand that it’s a balance that you have to have. We all want to give back to our future, but we don’t want our tax rate to be as high as some counties or cities. So it’s a balance where we use our money wisely and I understand that as well. For the financial end, I also keep the books and do the accounting for our farm and ranch. I have some financial experience in how it works. I’m fair, I love the city and I’m dedicated to Plainview and its people. We have the best people.

What strengths and weaknesses do you see in the district?

I’ll start with the weaknesses. Obviously morale. Obviously, this is a huge problem. It’s no secret that teachers face: we have a low economic rate, we have a high number of children at risk, they face discipline problems in addition to mandates coming from the state according to which they must all meet certain criteria. Many of them face challenges at home and mental issues. This is a problem we face with students and teachers.

As for our strengths, I think they are wonderful, dedicated teachers. Most of the people who live in Plainview have roots here, are connected here. They love this community and are ready to invest in this community. Our strengths: Being low-income or at-risk students gives us the opportunity to qualify for more scholarships and income. That’s one of the ways we’ve been able to get all of this technology by using it to our advantage and using that money wisely and giving it back to the students in the classrooms.

What problem do you intend to solve if you are elected? How do you intend to approach it?

We have another project coming up. Everyone – that bond didn’t allow us to have the money to work on a new gymnasium or a multipurpose facility, I guess I’ll say, for high school. We do not pass a deposit. We’ve finished posting a bond. I’ll make it clear – we’re not going to try to pass another bond. It was a lot of work. It has generated money and we have developed relationships that we hope will enable us to do so. This is something that is coming and that we will work on. And once again I want to continue working on morale. I tell my teacher friends all the time that there isn’t much time in the day. Do what you can and do the best you can. I truly believe that 99% of our teacher friends do this daily. Open the lines of communication, I think. For some reason, I think they don’t think they can express themselves. Just communicate their needs and try to meet their needs as well as the needs of the students.

How do you propose to support teachers?

Well, we did pay raises. One thing we are working on right now is longer lunches. Lunches have been reduced over the past few years – I don’t know when it happened – to 30 minutes. As a tip, we discussed trying to go back to a 45 minute lunch. Fifteen minutes for a teacher is gold. Just to kind of give them another 15 minutes – half the time they’re probably going to spend on that lunch – to gather their thoughts, to prepare a little more. Maybe they need a day for lunch with their spouse, or whatever, a quick lunch. It kind of helps them collect their thoughts with all the pressure being put on them. I hope that in return, our students will get those extra 15 minutes of playing time that they (miss). Frankly, for a few years recess was pushed back a bit and that worried me. I think kids need time outside. I think they need leisure time without phones, without education. They just need time to use their imagination. Even older children come to visit and interact socially with each other face to face. So we’re hoping to give that to the kids and another 15 minutes to the teachers. And then the pay goes up.

What is your vision of the neighborhood?

We want to continue to build on our goal of setting the standard in public education.

My little slogan has been: “Keep the progress. Our students and teachers are worth it.

What do you think is the job of a school board member?

A board member’s job is to work with the other board members to oversee our main job is to oversee the superintendent and his role and his finances and those things. We work with the superintendent to oversee district finances and needs.

Any other issues you would like to address?

Well, like I said, I’ve talked before about the fact that they’re still building, there’s still some facility needs, that sort of thing. One thing I want to get involved in, and I’ve done it before, is working with the TEA and TASB to come up with more realistic testing liability. And I’ve already witnessed some of that. It’s something that excites me. I know there has to be accountability in the state of Texas, but the pendulum swings a bit too far. Try to return to a more realistic midpoint.

Nothing else?

I am thinking of finance. I want people to know that was a great speech. When you look around town and think “how do they pay for this?” This was done through bond through bond interest. The bond interest paid for the baseball field. Luckily in COVID we have locked in a good rate there. ESSER funds for COVID have been granted and are to be spent in three years. We, the finance department and the board, have therefore worked to develop a plan for using these funds to give back to our teachers and to use them constructively throughout the district. The board had a healthy fund balance when I was elected four years ago. We were actually able to leverage that fund balance. We’re not in debt – that’s a question I get.

It was kind of a misconception. Maybe we weren’t transparent enough about it. We were working so fast that people started to worry about our financial situation. It just clarifies that. The TEA requires us to have three months of fund balance and we have eight and a half. We were debt free when we inherited it and we built on it. And we’re going to be good stewards of our money. It is a promise that I will make. Like I said, I’m a taxpayer.

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