Filing for a position on the FISD board of trustees began Jan. 17. Places 6 and 7 are up for election. The last day to file for a spot on the ballot is Feb. 16.
Community Impact Newspaper asked Classe a series of questions. His responses, edited for publication style, are below.
1. Why did you decide to run for re-election?
The high rate of growth in Frisco ISD coupled with a community which places great emphasis on academic achievement and student opportunity makes Frisco ISD a dynamic place to lead. We have a new superintendent, an announced expansion of academic programming, both in an environment of continued funding challenges. It is my hope to continue as a part of the team that navigates these challenges as we strive for excellence.
2. What experience have you gained in the last four years as a board member, and professionally, that you think prepares you for this position?
Since joining the board in 2014, I am most proud of the effort put into expanding opportunity for FISD students. Maintaining a smaller high school environment, even through unprecedented growth, has given our children more opportunity to participate in fine arts, athletics and career certifications. We have expanded partnerships with higher learning institutions such as Collin College, so students can graduate high school having already attained an associate’s degree.
3. If elected, what would be your top priorities?
As a goal for my next term, I want to continue to identify additional academic opportunities for FISD families. That strategy has yielded continuous results for FISD. We recently announced the planned rollout of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme and Primary Years Programme—two offerings identified in the district’s 2015 Strategic Plan, and long sought by FISD families.
In order to keep pace with growth and continue enhancing student achievement, I am also a proponent of school finance reform at the state level. Maintaining the level of excellence our community expects from its school district requires a modern state school funding formula that rewards success. Instead, we are challenged with outdated indexes, the widening creep of Robin Hood and a declining share of state funding. FISD homeowners are paying more, but that money isn’t staying here where it should be spent on FISD kids. Texas taxpayers have realized that the only way to truly reform property taxes is through fixing school finance in the Legislature. I believe that strong relationships with legislators and increasing community awareness of public school funding challenges will contribute to solutions.
I am proud that the district has been a good steward of its financial resources, and we should continue to make that a top priority. While we as a board work with our state leaders on school finance reform, the district will also continue focusing resources on students and the classroom. I am proud that FISD has once again achieved an ‘A’ or Superior rating in the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST). The FIRST program was created by the 77th Texas Legislature in 2001 to encourage better management of financial resources by local governments; FISD has maintained the top rating every year since the program was established.
4. What else do you want constituents to know about you and your background?
I am a Certified Financial Planner professional and have been serving clients with Bell Financial Group in Frisco since 2002. I hold a bachelor of arts in economics and a minor in computer science from Vanderbilt University.
A Dallas native, I am a graduate of Leadership Frisco Class XVI, and have served as a board member of the Frisco Education Foundation, Frisco Economic Development Corp., Frisco Community Development Corp., a commissioner on the city of Frisco 2013 Charter Review Commission, and a member and chair of the Frisco Parks and Recreation Board.
My wife, Melanie, and I have been married for 17 years. We have two daughters who attend Frisco ISD schools in seventh and fourth grade.
I have launched a new website to share district news and campaign information with Frisco ISD residents. It can be found at http://www.JCFISD.com. I am also available to Frisco ISD residents on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.