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

Snow covers I-45 in Houston during a winter storm that hit Texas the night of Feb. 14. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Legislators probe energy officials over power failures, lack of preparation heading into winter storm

The Texas Legislature held hearings Feb. 25 with energy companies including Oncor Electric Delivery and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas in response to last week’s historic winter storm, which left millions of Texans without electricity for days.

As many as 31 stores across nine states will be shuttered as Fry's Electronics shuts down due to market changes and the pandemic. (Courtesy Qygen, Wikimedia Commons)
Fry's Electronics calls it quits after nearly 36 years in business

As many as 31 stores across nine states will be shuttered as Fry's Electronics shuts down due to market changes and the pandemic.

A lone runner jogs on a snow-covered road in Austin. Transportation projects across the city were briefly paused due to Winter Storm Uri. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
ERCOT: Texas power system was less than 5 minutes from collapse during winter storm

ERCOT's CEO offered details into what led to the massive blackouts that left millions of Texans in the cold last week.

cars on snowy road
Texas Disaster Declaration opens door to federal aid for losses sustained during winter storms

Individuals and businesses who sustained losses during the winter storm are eligible for federal assistance, according to a Texas Disaster Declaration approved

ERCOT president and chief executive Bill Magness (left) was joined by the electric grid manager's senior director of system operations Dan Woodfin on Feb. 19 for a briefing on the company's emergency operations. (Screenshot via ERCOT livestream)
ERCOT chief: 'We are completely back to normal operations' as of Feb. 19

Officials with the Texas electric grid manager also said they are preparing for state and federal reviews of this week's power outages.

H-E-B stores across Texas have limited store hours and placed purchase limits on some high-demand products due to ongoing severe winter weather, H-E-B officials announced Feb. 19. (Courtesy H-E-B)
H-E-B, Central Market limit store hours, product purchases due to severe winter weather

H-E-B stores across Texas have limited store hours and placed purchase limits on some high-demand products due to ongoing severe winter weather, H-E-B officials announced Feb. 19.

Gov. Greg Abbott provided updates on the state's emergency response efforts during a Feb. 18 press conference. (Screenshot of April 17 press conference)
Gov. Greg Abbott: Power restored to nearly 2M homes in past day; statewide aid efforts continuing

While power generation has been restored to serve most Texas residents, Abbott said state agencies remain focused on water and food distribution Feb. 18.

Although tens of thousands of megawatts remain off the statewide power grid Feb. 17, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said relief is on the way for many Texans within the next 24 hours. (Hannah Zedaker/Community Impact Newspaper)
Gov. Abbott: Power restoration on the way for 1M households in next 24 hours

Although tens of thousands of megawatts remain off the statewide power grid Feb. 17, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said relief is on the way for many Texans within the next 24 hours.

Severe winter weather conditions led to outages throughout the Texas electric system this week. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
'Something that you could have planned for': How isolated Texas power grid, winter weather left millions without electricity

As of Feb. 17, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas said it was still working to restore electric service to customers throughout the state.

An Austin Fire Department truck drives down Manor Road on Feb. 15. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texans urged to use caution as carbon monoxide cases increase during power outages

Carbon monoxide poisoning calls have increased as people look for ways to stay warm without power and heat.

Many in Texas are battling power outages amid frigid temperatures. (Courtesy Rico Daniels)
Gov. Greg Abbott calls for investigation of ERCOT, Texas' electric reliability council

As of 1:20 p.m., over 4 million customers were out of power, according to ERCOT.

graph showing power demand out pacing grid capacity
Texas enters second day of blackouts

Although outages were initially intended to last for less than one hour, local grid operators are reporting longer outages.