Rudy was first elected on the board in 2015 and currently serves as the vice president.
He is running against Muni Janagarajan.
Community Impact Newspaper sent Rudy a set of questions about his candidacy. His answers have been edited for publication style.
This article is part of ongoing May 4 election coverage and does not constitute an endorsement of the candidate.
Why did you decide to run for the Frisco ISD board of trustees?
I’m running for re-election because our district is constantly changing. It’s different today than when I first ran in 2015. We have 10,000 more students, 12 more campuses, and 600 more educators. We have added new programs, new technology and new outreach to parents. Many new members of our senior leadership team have emerged, and we are working with new regulations and requirements from the Legislature. I have served FISD through a change in superintendent, and am pleased to support [Superintendent Mike Waldrip] in his first years as the “CEO” of the fastest-growing school district in the state. Having served on the 2014 Citizens Bond Committee and then helping see those projects come to life in my role on the board, I’m equipped to provide that same guidance for the new student and staff opportunities that will be possible thanks to the 2018 bond [election] and [tax ratification election].
I’m proud to have been a part of so many solutions and advances that have been implemented since 2015, but I can also see how much more we have to do. Five thousand new students are projected to arrive in the next three years. I want to continue my commitment to Frisco ISD by applying my abilities towards continued fiscal stewardship of district resources.
What experience do you think prepares you for serving on the board?
My top qualification is having already served as an active and engaged trustee since 2015. Strong governance of a Texas public school district is not a simple matter, because of new regulations coming in or being changed at the federal, state and local levels on a constant basis. Due to the complex nature of school districts, board members are the only elected officials in Texas who have annual requirements for continuing education. This role has a steep learning curve, but now with four years of active experience, I am eager to take this knowledge and continue my contributions as a board member.
In addition to my role as trustee, I have broad business experience as a certified financial planner, entrepreneur in IT and project manager with two Fortune 100 companies. I have served FISD specifically in the following roles: Vice President [of the] Frisco ISD board of trustees; priorities-based budget stakeholder committee - compensation sub committee; long-range planning committee - board capacity; and advocate for establishment, facilities and programs evaluation committee - board capacity; Frisco Education Foundation - board liaison; and 2014 citizens bond committee member.
What would you support out of the state Legislature this session in regard to school finance reform?
True reform would be an overall look at how we formulate school funding, then assessing how those funds are collected and disbursed including entities outside of traditional public schools, such as charter schools and the general fund.
I would support a school funding system that minimizes the state’s dependency on recapture and local property value increases. Additionally, basic allotment should be raised and unfunded mandates addressed. By raising the basic allotment, local districts have more flexibility in using the funds where they are needed the most. This benefits all students and does not harm any one particular district. I would like to see local tax dollars that are collected for public education stay local for public education.
Frisco ISD is still one of the fastest growing districts in the state yet has maintained one of the lowest tax rates in the North Texas area — all while continuing to add outstanding programs and opportunities for all of our students.
How do you think FISD should retain and attract quality teachers?
Frisco ISD has over 4,000 amazing teachers. Teachers are very personally invested in our mission to know every child by name and need, and our goal as board members should be to give them the tools to fulfill that mission in and out of the classroom.
Frisco ISD is fortunate to attract the best and the brightest, based partly on the commitment to keep teacher salaries competitive with neighboring districts. In addition to competitive salaries, expanding employee benefits, such as health insurance, short-term disability, life insurance and 401(a) retirement matches, will not only help attract new teachers, but also retain our talented staff. It is important to create a supportive and rewarding teaching environment by providing opportunities for advancement, reducing class sizes and providing the necessary resources. This past December I was proud to support an annual classroom supply stipend and retention payment targeting tenured teachers. I have also voted yes to teacher pay raises at every possible opportunity.
What else do you want voters to know about you?
Eleven years ago, my wife, Amy, and I had the chance to move anywhere. Schools were the highest priority for us. After much research, we determined that Frisco ISD was the perfect place to educate our children. We moved to Frisco ISD when the oldest of our three young daughters was in kindergarten. Each day, we are grateful to live in and raise our girls in this district. As a trustee, in addition to board meetings, I have many opportunities to attend programs and events throughout the district which gives me a true understanding of all the incredible things happening here in Frisco ISD. These events include campus visits, school assemblies, award ceremonies, PTA meetings, open houses, campus dedications, and more. I am proud to serve on the Frisco ISD board of trustees and work with others to maintain and continue to grow this exceptional school district.