With Saturday’s election in close sight, two candidates are facing off for the New Braunfels ISD seat that will represent District 5 for the next three years.
Kyle Campbell is a father of six, three of whom are school-age students enrolled in New Braunfels ISD. He said he and his family moved to the district five years ago.
“I’m there at the schools almost every day talking to the teachers, custodial workers and bus drivers, and I’ve got a pretty good idea; I know what their needs are,” he said.
Campbell said one reason he wants to serve on the NBISD school board is his concern about how the district will manage future growth, adding that Veramendi Elementary School, which opened its doors in August, is not far from hitting its enrollment capacity.
One of the reasons for that, Campbell said, is that more students are coming out of private schools with the construction of new campuses.
“I think we’re going to see even more people coming out of private schools because the district is just doing a great job of making improvements across the district, which is very inviting to take kids out of private school and put them into public school,” he said.
School safety is another driving force behind Campbell’s candidacy. As a retired Army veteran, he said, “I think out of all the candidates and all the trustees, I’m probably the most trained in force protection and security.”
Campbell said he would like to see district-wide response drills that involve the school system and community.
“My thought with school safety is I don’t believe it’s solely a district issue,” he said. “I think there should be a comprehensive plan from the community that involves the district attorney, sheriffs department, police department, fire department, county commissioners and the county judge.”
One of the safety issues Campbell would like to see addressed are kids riding school buses without lap restraints. He also alluded to another school system that incorporated cameras that photographed the license plates of drivers who passed school buses that were loading and unloading children.
Campbell said he would also like to see a full-time grant writer added to the NBISD staff to leverage available funding.
“In February I was in Washington DC,” he said. “There were over 250 grants, about 24 that our district qualifies for.”
More Career and Technical Education opportunities for students is another initiative Campbell supports.
“We have to not only educate our youth but also graduate them with the skills for these companies to hire them to be something other than a basic employee; kind of give them a leg up,” he said, adding that he would like to see the district work with area industries, such as Amazon, USA, Rack Space and Rush Trucking to determine what skills they are looking for from high school graduates.
As his day job, Campbell works on the health care side of Fulcrum, a technology company.
As her third term comes to a close, NBISD Board of Trustees Vice President Sherry Harrison is hoping to win the support of voters for a fourth time.
“I feel I have some specific talents to offer the board and the district at this specific time,” she said.
Harrison touts her experience serving on the board up to this point, adding that there is a learning curve for a new member to soak all of the district’s information in.
“Continuity, knowledge and leadership are pretty critical right now for educating people about the [November] bond proposal, what that entails and why we need it,” she said.
Harrison said the board has also been working on a long-range facilities plan that will determine how NBISD accommodates future growth.
During her tenure on the school board, the design and construction of three new schools have been completed, and Harrison said all were completed on time and on or under budget. She said the projects were also accomplished with no tax increases to residents.
“Since I’ve been on the board, we have had upgrades and improvements at every single campus in our district,” she said.
Harrison said roughly 70 percent of the school district’s budget is designated for salaries and employee benefits, and one of the accomplishments she is most proud of is giving teacher raises the past three years.
“Transparency and healthy discussion” are some of the values Harrison said she advocates for in her role, and as a result of that, she said students sixth grade and higher are now allowed to wear shorts to school again after a decades-old decision had banned them.
“Part of my role is to give people’s the why’s,” she said. “If we have a policy, I need to be able to explain a why.”
Harrison would also like to see more CTE opportunities for students that will help prepare them for the workforce.
She said teh district currently offers 87 individual CTE classes that span all 16 of the career clusters.
“We’ve really been pretty deliberate as a district in our efforts to expand our [CTE offerings] every year—working around space and budgets—even if it’s just adding one or two new classes a year,” she said.
First elected in 2009, Harrison is a community volunteer who sometimes puts her singing talent to use at events. She serves as treasurer of the New Braunfels Theatre Company and serves on the board for the mid-Texas symphony. She has been a Meals on Wheels Driver for 17 years, and dedicates one day per week working in one of the district’s elementary school libraries. In addition, her two grown daughters are NBISD graduates.
Harrison said she is hopeful not only for a victory but that the community will get out and vote, noting that an NBISD school board election in 2010 was determined by only two votes.
“I want people who are eligible to vote to vote,” she said. “I just think it’s very important. An educated populous affects every person in every community. It matters.”
Eric Bergquist is running unopposed for the District 3 NBISD Board of Trustees seat, which is currently filled by NBISD School Board President James Bettersworth.
For the District 5 election, polls will be open May 5 from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. at the following locations:
- Seele Elementary, 540 Howard, New Braunfels
- Faith United Church of Christ, 970 Loop 337, New Braunfels
As NBISD prepares to ask citizens for at least $106 million in a November bond election, voters will determine who will play a part in steering the future of the district on election day.