November 2020 election: Meet the candidates for Pflugerville ISD board of trustees Place 7

Cindy Gee and Charlie Torres are the two candidates running for Place 7 on the Pflugerville ISD board of trustees.
Cindy Gee and Charlie Torres are the two candidates running for Place 7 on the Pflugerville ISD board of trustees.

Cindy Gee and Charlie Torres are the two candidates running for Place 7 on the Pflugerville ISD board of trustees.



PFLUGERVILLE ISD



Pflugerville ISD Place 7










Cindy Gee




Occupation: retired assistant superintendent, PfISD; currently, principal at St. Louis Catholic School


Experience: Masters in Curriculum Instruction, Certifications in Supervision and Administration. Four decades of the educational experience. Retired as Assistant Superintendent






What would be your top priorities if you are elected?



CG: Because PfISD is a fast-growing district; my priorities will be to use my experience in rezoning, optimization and long-range planning to provide stability to the PfISD school systems. Priorities include attracting, maintaining and retaining the best possible teachers and school leaders. PfISD needs stability in our classrooms and our leadership. At the same time, we must plan for future growth with the least disruption to the educational environment and families' lives.



What uniquely qualifies you for this position?



CG: As a former Executive Leader, I have a historical perspective that is unique to the Board. I have worked with school officials across the State in school improvement. I have decades-long commitment to the good of the community that is well documented in my community involvement. I am a parent of PfISD graduates and a future grandparent of PfISD students. My entire adult life has been dedicated to serving children and their families.



How should Pflugerville ISD manage its growth?



CG: Managing growth requires comprehensive long-range planning, proactive monitoring of demographics and partnering with the city and county. It means establishing systems so that students rezoned have programming that is comparable across the district. It means developing an educator who can lead through change with sensitivity to community and family needs. It means not compromising on excellence in the existing schools to form new schools. It means making hard decisions that keep students first.



What do you see as the greatest challenge facing the district, and how will you improve it?



CG: Current students will be leaders in the mid-century. We must provide an education that plans for a future that we have yet to realize. We need to do this as we address the opportunity gap made greater by COVID-19. Our students must learn from talented teachers in the state of the art facilities. PfISD must focus on student achievement. I have no special interest or personal agenda. I bring experience, willingness to listen, the [...]









Charlie Torres




Occupation: Staff Representative for the Communications Workers of America


Experience: Rockport-Fulton H.S. (1974); Texas A&I - Kingsville (2 years); AT&T Customer Services Technician (32 years)






What would be your top priorities if you are elected?



CT: 1) COVID-19. All decisions must be totally transparent and focus on student/educator health and safety. Parents must feel confident that their children’s well-being is our #1 priority. 2) Develop/provide programs that jettison graduates into their future (direct workforce entry, military service, higher education). 3) Build stronger cross-sectional leadership between City, business, higher education, and District leaders to identify and prepare students for work force demands. 4) Tax rates that are affordable/sustainable by homeowners and businesses.



What uniquely qualifies you for this position?



CT: I have served in public schools for 35+ years, including 12 years as a Trustee at Gregory-Portland ISD in South Texas. Working with my Board colleagues and our Superintendent, the Gregory-Portland District improved the graduation rate, lowered the drop-out rate, improved vocational and technical opportunities, balanced our budget yearly, and kept our tax rate affordable. And I listen. I will always make myself available and actually “hear” – and respond to – our teachers, parents, and taxpayers.



How should Pflugerville ISD manage its growth?



CT: Pflugerville ISD currently serves over 25,500 students; however, as one of the fastest growing cities in the United States, we are projected to grow to over 40,000 within 20 years. Our District must begin collaborative planning now with local, County, State, and even Federal officials to make sure we have accurate data and the required resources to address growth and strategic situational (location) for future schools in a manner that will not overly burden taxpayers.



What do you see as the greatest challenge facing the district, and how will you improve it?



CT: School Finance is a close second to COVID-19. A great deal rides on whether PfISD is designated a Fast-Growth District (FGD). Projected 2019-20 revenue under HB-3 is ~$241 million; as a FGD, that increases to ~$247m. Future funding is complicated by the Appraisal District’s decision to forgo 2020 property value appraisals. My expertise identifying and delivering resources for educational opportunities while keeping a budget within its means becomes even more vital under these circumstances.


Editor's note: [...] indicates an answer was edited for length. Candidates were given specific word limits for each question.
By Kelsey Thompson
Kelsey Thompson is the reporter for Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto, where her work focuses on education, city government and community development. Originally from Upstate New York, Kelsey relocated to Austin after graduating from Syracuse University in May 2019.


MOST RECENT

Here are the coronavirus data updates to know today in Williamson County. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Williamson County reports 214 new coronavirus cases, 1 death Dec. 1

Here are the coronavirus data updates to know today in Williamson County.

Graphic of a coronavirus unit
COVID-19 rates after Thanksgiving have yet to climb, but experts say spike could still be coming

As Austin awaits a vaccine whose first doses could arrive by the end of 2020, health officials say the impact of Thanksgiving gatherings on the spread of the virus could take time to show up.

The primary focus of the plan is to help make city services, facilities, programs and activities more accessible to all residents. (Screenshot courtesy city of Pflugerville)
As Pflugerville prepares plan to improve accessibility, city seeks public input

The primary focus of the plan is to help make city services, facilities, programs and activities more accessible to all residents in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has launched a campaign to address declining college enrollment numbers across the state since the pandemic started. (Courtesy Pexels)
Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board launches campaign to boost college enrollment

The decline in college enrollment across the state of Texas has prompted several agencies to partner up and create online resources for students and counselors.

Here is how Williamson County is being impacted by the coronavirus. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Williamson County adds more than 1,000 reported coronavirus cases Nov. 25-30

The county's positivity rate, or rate at which test return postiive, sits at 8.15%, data shows.

The changes come following the Round Rock Transportation Department's annual traffic signal operations, which "assist traffic flow as the city grows and traffic patterns change and evolve." (Courtesy Fotolia)
Round Rock to debut traffic pattern changes on 2 A.W. Grimes intersections in December

The changes come following the Round Rock Transportation Department's annual traffic signal operations, which "assist traffic flow as the city grows and traffic patterns change and evolve."

Daniel Presley's appointment follows the Nov. 13 resignation of Steve Flores, whose last day is Dec. 1. (Community Impact staff)
NEW: Daniel Presley named acting superintendent for Round Rock ISD

Presley's appointment follows the Nov. 13 resignation of Steve Flores, whose last day is Dec. 1.

In a Nov. 13 letter to Pflugerville City Council, the Pflugerville Fire Department said it might have to discontinue emergency ambulance services and advanced life support if additional funding is not made available. (Community Impact Staff)
Pflugerville residents push for EMS services amid new emergency district overlay discussions

"To allow citizens to vote on the current topic is to allow them to have a say in how their tax dollars are spent and how their loved ones are cared for," resident Blake Brown said Nov. 24.

The mayor pro tem acts as mayor when the mayor is absent from a meeting. (Community Impact Staff)
Omar Peña to continue as Pflugerville City Council's mayor pro tem

Omar Peña has served as mayor pro tem since 2015, with the position filled each year as new council members join.

Round Rock City Council approved a resolution for the Oakmont Drive extension. (Courtesy Round Rock City Council and Google Earth)
Gattis School Road, N. Mays Street approved for improvements by Round Rock City Council

City Council approved the enactment of eminent domain to acquire property on Gattis School Road to create the Oakmont Drive extension that will run parallel to the road.

Melissa Neel has 23 years of experience in finance and project management work in public, private and nonprofit sectors, according to a Nov. 24 city news release. (Courtesy city of Pflugerville)
Pflugerville selects Melissa Neel as new finance director

Melissa Neel has 23 years of experience in finance and project management work in public, private and nonprofit sectors, according to a Nov. 24 city news release.

Pflugerville City Council approved on first reading an annexation request for 160 acres of land for uses that include the operations of Republic National Distributing Company, a wines and spirits distributor. (Kelsey Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
160-acre annexation, including future wine distribution site, moves ahead in Pflugerville

Pflugerville City Council approved on first reading an annexation request for 160 acres of land for uses that include the operations of Republic National Distributing Company, a wines and spirits distributor.