Cody Weaver is running for the Place 7 seat on the Plano ISD board of trustees.
Weaver is running against Khalid Ishaq and Dylan Rafaty.
The seat is currently held by PISD board President Missy Bender, who is not seeking re-election.
Community Impact Newspaper sent Weaver a set of questions about his candidacy. This article is part of ongoing May 4 election coverage and does not constitute an endorsement of the candidate. His answers have been edited for publication style.
1. Why did you decide to run for this position?
I love Plano, and I love what this community has accomplished over the past few decades. We produce community leaders and academic achievers that universities and employers pursue. I want to preserve and enhance what we’ve built so more students can reach their full potential. Families have been moving to Plano for years so their children have the opportunity to achieve academic excellence. My wife and I moved back to Plano for that same reason. As current school board leadership steps down, I see an opportunity to serve my community. With an open mind and an open heart, I am committed to the enduring success of Plano ISD. Together, we can educate a generation of civic-minded lifelong learners and lifelong earners.
2. What experience—professionally or politically—do you have that would prepare you for this position?
My many years of real estate experience have taught me how to negotiate for the best possible outcomes. Upholding my fiduciary duties and always putting the interests of my clients over my own has prepared me for this opportunity. I will always put the interests of our students above all else. I will listen and learn from our parents and teachers. I will always remember who I serve: the citizens of Plano and all families that reside within PISD.
I currently serve as a member on the Texas Association of Realtors Professional Standards Committee and Education Subcommittee. Real estate education and mentorship is a passion of mine.
3. If elected, what are some specific policies you would like to implement in PISD?
The No. 1 priority of any school district is the safety and security of its students. Parents need to feel confident in their child’s safety every time they drop their student off at school. I would support a policy that helps coordinate our teachers, administrator and first responders during a crisis event. Training and preparation are key when responding to a crisis event. We have a duty to explore all options that enhance campus security and keep our students safe. Additionally, I would initiate a safe and timely parent-student reunification process after a crisis. Safety and security of our students includes the social and emotional well-being.
Our most pressing issue in Plano ISD is our ballooning recapture payment. The impact of this will be compounded by the projected enrollment decline that could see numbers below 52,000 students in the next few years. According to Randy McDowell, PISD chief financial officer, we could pay anywhere between $241 million-$261 million in recapture payments for the 2019-20 school year. This has the potential to leave us with a deficit of $20 million or more for the next two school years and a deficit of $40 million or more for the 2021-22 school year. Until our state legislators can find a solution for recapture, which is also referred to as “Robin Hood,” we must adopt a fiscally prudent, zero-based budget that will ensure the needs of our students and teachers are met. Efficient use of our financial resources is a top priority of mine.
4. Are there specific areas in the district’s budget that you would consider funding more or funding less?
Plano ISD is home to some of the most dedicated, experienced, and caring teachers in Texas. These are the educators that welcome our children into their classroom every day and reinforce the values we all share. One of our district’s greatest strengths is our ability to attract the best teachers to our community. As our district adopts the philosophy of high-reliability schools and collaborative teams, our teachers are learning how to take proactive steps to prevent failure and ensure success. We must take proactive steps to retain and recruit the best educators.
To make this possible, we must routinely evaluate the needs of our district and prepare for the future. This includes implementing a zero-based budget, identifying the long-term capital needs of our district and following a policy that minimizes interest paid on bond debt. We must exercise personal and fiscal responsibility when deciding how to move forward. If elected, I am prepared to work with fellow school board trustees and administrative staff to find fiscally conservative solutions to our escalating budget deficit.
5. What else do you want constituents to know about you and your background?
My wife and I moved back to Plano to start a family. We chose Plano over all other cities because of the safe neighborhoods and top-rated schools. As we wait to welcome our first child into this world, I can’t help but ask myself: ‘What can I do to make our community a better place?’ The value of service to others was instilled in me at a young age. My father served in the United States Army and later joined the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. My mother served the city of Plantation as a law-enforcement officer until she retired and started her second career in education. My parents made public service a hallmark of my childhood. Now it is my turn to pick up the baton and serve my community, for your child and mine. For more information, please visit my website at www.weaver4pisd.com.