Q&A: Dylan Rafaty is running for Place 7 seat on Plano ISD board of trustees

Dylan Rafaty is running for the Plano ISD board of trustees Place 7 seat.

Rafaty is running against Cody Weaver and Khalid Ishaq.

The seat is currently held by PISD board President Missy Bender, who is not seeking re-election.

Community Impact Newspaper sent Rafaty 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.

Why did you decide to run for this position?


As a proud PISD product and dedicated public servant for different communities, it has been my hope to continue to serve in a large capacity where my skills and abilities will contribute greatly. The PISD school board needs to have fresh, young individuals who are passionate in serving all students in public education.

What experience—professionally or politically—do you have that would prepare you for this position?


As a former special education graduate at Plano West Senior High, class of 2009, the education route in college was never easy. This led me to self-publish my book on my personal education experiences that discussed the importance of having transitional guidance throughout my journey in education. However, I did receive my associate degree at Collin College, and this summer I’m set to receive a bachelor’s degree on industrial and organizational psychology.

My current entrepreneurship and work backgrounds include chief navigation officer at DylanListed, focused on transition, employment and entrepreneurship for people with disabilities, and director of community development and disability engagement at C-Hear Inc. My past work experiences include manager of disability engagement at iCode East Frisco and disability diversity trainer and consultant at NextCareer Consulting.

My current volunteerism background includes being a committee member of the Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities, PISD Special Education Advisory Board Committee, Care and Mercy Foundation and chairman for the social responsibility committee at the International Association for Ice Cream Distributors and Vendors.

Throughout my entrepreneurship journey in the last eight years, I have displayed many leadership qualities that will make me an incredible asset to serve on the PISD school board. These leadership qualities include: proven management; leadership; communication; relationship-building; community engagement and outreach; public relations; [and] the ability to have courage to stand up for what is morally and ethically right, including being an advocate on important legislative matters in Texas and United States.

Within the last two years, I have devoted my time locally to learn about the issues and concerns happening within the city of Plano and PISD. I still continuously meet [with] different community leaders, advocates and elected officials on ways we can collaborate and work inclusively on matters pertaining to people with disabilities, education, housing and transportation. I am also a proud graduate from the Plano Citizens Academy where I’ve learned the essential functions that occur within different city departments and interesting statistics about the Plano community. There’s still much more work to be done, but if elected I am committed and prepared to take on this responsibility.

If elected, what are some specific policies you would like to implement in PISD?


There are three initial areas of interest that I care about, including boosting transparency efforts in PISD; the need for strengthening special education efforts to boost community participation; and to focus on culture where it values everyone, including our educators.

If elected, my hope is to review and investigate the district't current nondiscrimination (or ERO) policy, potential school board term limits, the need for best practices on handling mental health and bullying in schools, assisting economically disadvantaged youth, increasing opportunities for pre-K expansion, healthy food options for our elementary youth and exploring into blended learning opportunities for all students.

Are there specific areas in the district’s budget that you would consider funding more or funding less?


Recently, Plano ISD had a work session where the school board covered specific preliminary budget projections for the upcoming 2019-20 school year. It is projected that Plano ISD could potentially make a recapture payment amount between $240 million to $260 million for the upcoming 2019-20 school year. During this meeting, it also highlighted some important discussion points on what the school board needs to do to prepare for in the future when dealing with Plano ISD budget concerns. At this moment, I cannot declare what specific areas of the district's budget to consider. However, I will continuously advocate and collaborate with our state Legislature to work on a long-term solution on school finance reform that benefits school districts like Plano ISD during this legislative session.

What else do you want constituents to know about you and your background?


My parents instilled in me the passion for education and entrepreneurship and are prime examples of what hard work can accomplish. My mother is a resourceful IP attorney, and my father is a successful businessman. They are also from diverse backgrounds (eastern European and Middle Eastern), which growing up gave me a window to the world and its rich cultures, an experience that allows me to see that people have more in common than they think. For more information, please visit my website at www.voterafaty.org.
By Gavin Pugh
Gavin has reported for Community Impact Newspaper since June 2017. His beat has included Dallas Area Rapid Transit, public and higher education, school and municipal governments and more. He now serves as the editor of the Grapevine, Colleyville, Southlake edition.


MOST RECENT

Here is the latest coronavirus update from Collin County. (Graphic by Community Impact Newspaper)
14 new cases of coronavirus, 2 deaths reported in Collin County

There were 14 new cases of coronavirus reported by Collin County health officials May 22, as well as the first Richardson death within the county.

Case numbers are trending lower than weeks prior. Additionally, hospitalizations, emergency room visits and intensive care unit admissions have remained relatively flat, according to the county. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
CHART: How this week's COVID-19 case counts looked in Dallas County

Case numbers are trending lower than weeks prior. Additionally, hospitalizations, emergency room visits and intensive care unit admissions have remained relatively flat, according to the county.

In April, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced that independent, freestanding ERs in Texas and several other states can be recognized health care providers eligible for reimbursement for treating Medicaid and Medicare patients during the coronavirus pandemic. (Cherry He/Community Impact Newspaper)
Freestanding ERs in Texas can now care for Medicaid, Medicare patients during pandemic

In April, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced that independent, freestanding ERs in Texas and several other states can be recognized health care providers eligible for reimbursement for treating Medicaid and Medicare patients during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mimi Conner (right) unloads food from her car after picking up nonperishable foods from the North Texas Food Bank and purchasing foods from Aldi, with help from volunteer Michelle Leavitt. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
North Texas Food Bank says new donation will provide 300,000 meals for residents in need

The North Texas Food Bank received a $100,000 donation from online retailer Amazon as the nonprofit continues to provide meals for residents in need.

Luna Grill has also donated hundreds of meals to Methodist Richardson Medical Center among other hospitals. (Courtesy Luna Grill)
Luna Grill donates 450 meals to Methodist Richardson Medical Center, hundreds more across Dallas-Fort Worth

Luna Grill is committed to feeding more than 20,000 workers across 37 hospitals, including several in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, in the coming weeks, a company representative said.

The state-run testing program is expected to return to other areas of Collin County on a rotating basis every two weeks, according to a May 14 release from Collin County. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Expanded testing, population growth in Frisco and 3 other DFW-area stories

Here are five recent updates from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, on a butcher shop in Keller, expanded COVID-19 testing in Collin County and more.

The county’s larger, more established cities saw low to moderate increases between 2% and 7%. This is because homes in these areas are more expensive and there is less space to build, one expert said. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Latest estimates show Collin County property values increasing by 4.53%

The preliminary property valuation countywide is $156 billion, compared with the 2019 certified tax roll of more than $149 billion, according to the latest numbers from the Collin Central Appraisal District.

texas-reopening
LIST: What is open, closed in Texas and how businesses can operate

Texas openings are staggered with different opening dates and operating limits.

The testing sites use self-swab tests for those who meet Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria. (Chase Autin/Community Impact Newspaper)
New CVS drive-thru COVID-19 testing locations announced across Dallas-Fort Worth area, state

CVS Health is opening 44 new COVID-19 test sites at drive-thru locations across Texas, including a number of locations in the DFW area, according to a May 21 announcement by Gov. Greg Abbott.

All patients, residents and staff at Texas' 23 state hospitals and supported living centers are to be tested for coronavirus. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas to test all state hospitals, supported living centers for COVID-19

All patients, residents and staff at Texas' 23 state hospitals and supported living centers will be tested for coronavirus regardless of symptoms or exposure.

Al Baghdady offers a variety of Middle Eastern desserts, including pistachio baklava. (Courtesy Al Baghdady Bakery & Restaurant)
Middle Eastern eatery Al Baghdady Bakery & Restaurant opens in new Richardson location

The bakery has moved to a new location on Greenville Avenue.

(Courtesy College Board)
Online testing glitches may result in some Plano ISD students retaking AP tests

The College Board's annual Advanced Placement exams were moved online due to coronavirus concerns, but glitches on the testing website are requiring some students to either email their test results or take a makeup test.