by Eduardo Calderon|Staff Writer
Every four years, since 1996, there has been a new face joining the NEISD school board. This coming May there will be several districts holding an election to decide who will step in to help lead NEISD.
In May of 2012, board members will be elected in districts 1, 4, 5, and 6. In May of 2014, board members will be elected in districts 2, 3, and 7.
To become a ‘trustee’ seeking candidacy in the election, there are a few requirements that have to be met.
To be eligible to be a candidate for election to the office of school board trustee, a person must be a United States citizen, be 18 years of age or older, have not been determined by a final judgement of total or partially mentally incapacitated, have not been convicted of a felony, have been a resident of the state for 12 months and resident of the territory from which the office is elected for six months, be a resident of the trustee district he or she seeks to represent, and be a qualified voter.
Voters can still sign up to allow their voices to be heard.
“If they are 18, the last day a person can register to vote is April 12th,” district 5 candidate Shannon Grona said. “If students are 18, they can make their voice heard in this upcoming election.”
The election for districts 1, 4, 5, and 6 will be held close to the beginning of May, but early voting is available beforehand to voters.
“Early voting is April 30th-May 8th, election day is May 12th,” Grona said. “Results [of the election] should be known after 7:00 p.m. on May 12th.”
Early voting is held in several locations throughout San Antonio.
The main early voting location is at Bexar County Justice Center, in addition early voting will be conducted at BrookHollow Library, Universal City-City Hall, Wonderland of Americas at Crossroads Mall, Parman Library at Stone Oak, Northside Activity Center, Mission Library, etc.
There are several candidate running for their respected districts.
“The candidates are district 1- Sandy Hughey; district 4- Betty L. Daise, Jim Wheat, James Mcfall; district 5- Shannon Grona, Donnie Mahan, Darpan I. Patel; and from district 6- Letti Bresnahan, Tom Lessner, Rogelio Rodriguez,” Grona said.
There are some hard hitting issues that candidates hope to fix if they are elected for the district.
“One of the big challenges facing the district is the rising accountability standards, and the decreased funding. The state is mandating this new testing all the while taking away funding, the district is in favor of accountability in our schools and evaluating student, but let’s do it without putting the staff and students through so much stress. Another issue facing the district is how to maintain the ‘360’ student with the decreased budget, the district will have to cut another $14 million this year, but we don’t want to impact the classroom or the 360 student. Our students are so involved in extra-curricular and co-curricular activities, and parents and students expect that the programs will remain available,” Grona said. “Another issue facing the district is the changing population, we are becoming a more diverse district economically and culturally, the challenge for our district is meeting the needs of this diverse population. Another issue that I personally see is the lack of customer service. In my opinion, the teachers and staff are in the customer service business, with the students and parents being the customers.”
Johnson High School falls in district 5, and many voters from Johnson are looking for a candidate that would focus on issues affecting NEISD.
“[From a] personal perspective, [there should be] a candidate that believes in the children, will fight for them, and continue the tradition of excellence that defines NEISD,” principal John Mehlbrech said. “A person that has some stability, and is very conscience of how money is spent in the district.”
Candidates are looking for the best platform to fix the biggest issues on the voter’s minds.
“The board is very active in working with legislators to try and get more funding for public education. If I am elected, I will work along with the other board members and the district administration to seek more funding for public education. I will do my best as a board member to ensure that the district maintains it’s standard of excellence,” Grona said, “And I will communicate with the superintendent as issues arise. I have been on the Council PTA for the past four years and have developed a good working relationship with the district administration staff. I feel that my knowledge of the district will help me to be a good board member.”
Each candidate seeks to benefit the district in anyway they see fit.
“We are one of the largest recognized school districts in the state, the accountabiliy standards are increasing (ie STAAR and EOC) while funding is decreasing,” Grona said, “I would like to ensure that NEISD maintains the standard of excellence that we have become accustomed to.”
Find more information at http://www.neisd.net/regs/Boardpage/Board.html,