Why do I want to serve on the Garland ISD board of trustees?
I will strive to bring an added sense of openness and transparency to the district while providing leadership and direction to the superintendent to provide a quality education for ALL students of
Trustee should take their Oath of Office seriously and conduct the business of the district accordingly. Bending and circumventing rules and laws do not fit into my way of running an organization. I will strive to make information and actions taken by the Board representatives as meaningful and understandable to the public as possible. I have filed numerous Public Information Requests to obtain information. I want a system that will make information as available as possible in a “transparent,” government entity. I will strive to curtail the violations of the Open Meetings Act as the previous Board President indicated was happening in the November 2020 Board Meeting. I want to lead the district to keep ALL members of the communities informed and provide information openly. If one has an interest in what is going on in the district, they should be able to easily access information. If your tax dollars are used, you have every right to know the details.
In the April 23, 2019 School Board Meeting, current Board President spoke about a luncheon he attended at a National School Board Conference in Philadelphia. He mentioned equity and access which are things the district is working on, but some of the comments he repeated were made by Angela Davis, who was a known member of the Communist Party, ran on the Communist party ticket for VP of United States election's in 1980 and 1984, and as I understand is a Marxist Socialist: The “prison Industrial Complex from a historical context”; about “the school to prison pipeline”; “schools are supposed to educate students and not be a prep school for prisons.”
I do not believe I have ever heard these terms used in Garland ISD prior to this and fail to understand why they should be used now. Discipline is an important part of life. Everything we do requires some form of discipline for us to exist and be successful.
The following was stated in a letter to me dated February 22, 2021, from the Garland ISD, General Counsel, and was written with the knowledge of Garland ISD Board President and Trustees.
Moving forward, staff and/or Board members will not respond to any request for information outside the District's information request process.
I, Lisa Ray, will serve as your designated point of contact for communications with the District outside the information request process noted above.
The letter also pointed out that I had filed several Public Information Request. Since the date of the letter, I have received responses to a couple of my Public Information Request asking me to pay $2,304.00 and $4,104.00 for the requested PIA Information. Do these, in my opinion, exorbitant amounts tell you same thing they do me?
Experience that qualifies me for this position.
I have an extensive background/experience in dealing with financial matters from my 47 years in the financial industry. My career included operational management, lending, documentation, understanding and following banking laws and regulations, policies, procedures, and most of all providing good customer service.
I am a father and grandfather who knows the challenges of raising and education children, and we cannot depend on the education systems to replace the values and personal skills that should be taught at home. Schools are for education, not child rearing. When most children begin public school, they have already learned many values and principals from parents and families, and the education system must deal with the values and principles that may not align with the public educational process.Trustees and employees of the district must remember they work for every member of the three Garland ISD communities who provide the funding that pays the salaries of district employees.
Improvements I believe need to be made in GISD.
I believe the district is in one of the toughest places in recent history regarding the process of educating the next generation. Between the local, state, and national leaders, the CDC and TEA, things are very confusing for the district and public. Which Government mandates do we recognize? In a recent board meeting, there was discussion on the confusion on wearing face mask and the difference in school criteria and Board Room criteria. My understanding of the discussion is that the board will continue to exclude the public. I feel there is ample room if the board room were arranged efficiently to allow members of public to attend meetings.
With COVID-19 and virtual versus in-school learning, public education has become a new and different challenge that has placed both students and teachers in a stressful situation. I believe the district should set up and test all three teaching environments and set up test classrooms for virtual learning only, classroom teaching only, and a hybrid virtual and in-class to determine which is the best method and establish procedures that are best for all students. It should take no longer than a week to arrive at a conclusion.
My understanding is that staff and trustees have discussed the fact that many students and families may choose virtual learning in the current period and into the future. There are many unknowns and potential challenges. The district (as of 3-24) was conducting a Virtual School Family Survey.
Programs for special needs children.
The district is in the process of studying Special Education, having just brought in a new Special Education Leader and has hired Public Consulting Group to lead a Special Education study for the district. This study should assist the district in moving in the right direction, and as your trustee I will pledge to make informed choices for our students and not just what a bureaucrat may suggest.
A change that will be a part of that study will most likely be the closing of the Pathfinder (PAC). Several district employees have made comments publicly and in the news to that effect, however, to my knowledge, it has not been brought to the board of trustees for a final decision. Perhaps the pandemic has created another special-needs category of students? Only time will tell, and then based on the Superintendent and staff recommendations.
I feel that more needs to be done to combat bullying.
Bullying is no doubt a challenge in Garland ISD and having been personally bullied by a principal in high school I am very familiar of their traits. Garland ISD has about 15 Policies that have the subject of bullying in them, but policies do not change people/students. It takes a change of the heart to change the way that bullies treat others. Speed Limits and Stop Signs do not stop people from breaking the rules.
Bullying must be addressed in a top-down strategy if it is going to succeed.
John Scolinos, a renowned coach had a rule he taught in Leadership Principals to others called "The seventeen-inch rule". You can google “seventeen inches by John Scolinos” and read his ideas.
Perhaps a good phrase to remember related to bullying, is the Golden Rule:
"Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." Matthew 7:12 paraphrased.
ALERT - I was recently cautioned, that when looking at information on the district website, there is a possibility you may not be looking at the most current information and you should REFRESH before taking for granted the document/information you are viewing is the most current version. Hopefully, they are working on this and will make an announcement soon.
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