Q&A with candidates running for Place 5 on Pflugerville ISD board of trustees

Election day is May 4.

Election day is May 4.

Brian Allen, April Griffin and Charlie Torres are running for Place 5 on Pflugerville ISD board of trustees. Community Impact Newspaper asked the candidates about their priorities and experience.

In addition, two incumbents are running unopposed for Places 3 and 4 on Pflugerville ISD board of trustees. Renae Mitchell is running for Place 3, and Vernagene Mott is running for Place 4.

Election day is May 4. Early voting is April 22-30.




Brian Allen


Occupation: supervisor, state of Texas
Hometown: Pflugerville
Experience: bachelor’s of science in business management, served in numerous capacities within PfISD, graduate of Army and other leadership academies

www.votebrianallen.com
What will be your top priorities if you are elected?
Building collaborative relationships with staff/community, responsible in spending, attentive to our teachers and fostering safety for all.

What uniquely qualifies you for this position?
I am a results-oriented leader with over 25 years’ experience in teaching, coaching and mentoring. I am accountability driven, and my integrity is beyond reproach. I am an effective communicator and want to serve for altruistic reasons. I have demonstrated the ability to connect with students, teachers and parents.

What is your stance on school finance and recapture?
I believe the state should contribute more. The majority of school funding should not rest on our district residents and business owners.

Does the district need to revisit its district of innovation exemptions?
I believe it is a good business practice to refine processes, policies, procedures and plans. I served on the district academic advisory council this year. Our goal was to review and refine the school calendar. The calendar was presented and approved by the school board.






April Griffin


Occupation: assistant general counsel, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Experience: bachelor’s degree in business administration from St. Edwards University; juris doctorate from St. Mary’s School of Law

www.aprilgriffin4pfisdboardtrustee.org
What will be your top priorities if you are elected?
School safety in and outside of the classroom. A quality education that prepares our children for college, career and beyond.

What uniquely qualifies you for this position?
I am a parent committed to the success of PfISD. As a taxing entity board member, I understand the dynamics of providing oversight to ensure that the needs of the district are met within a balanced budget. As an attorney, I understand the laws and regulations that impact PfISD.

What is your stance on school finance and recapture?
Texas recapturing revenue from property-wealthy districts to redistribute to property-poor districts (Robin Hood) is a disheartening Band-Aid that allows the state to continue to fail to support Texas’ educational system. Therefore, it is imperative that PfISD lobby our legislators to push for legislation that provides for real school finance reform.

Does the district need to revisit its district of innovation exemptions?
Considering that the most recent plan per the website was approved by DACC [District Academic Advisory Council] and the PfISD in March 2018, it would be an exercise of diligence to revisit our current exemptions to ensure they are meeting the needs of our consistently growing district.






Charlie Torres


Occupation: staff representative, Communications Workers of America
Hometown: Pflugerville
Experience: retired after 32 years with ATT, 10 years (and currently) working on corporate labor relation issues and contract negotiations

www.facebook.com/torresfortrustee
What will be your top priorities if you are elected?
Success for every student. Resources and support for educators. Tax rate management and directing dollars to the classroom. Student-campus safety.

What uniquely qualifies you for this position?
As the only Place 5 candidate with actual trustee experience (12 years, Gregory-Portland ISD), I arrive prepared to work successfully as part of a leadership team. My work as a labor-relations negotiator brings a needed dimension when working with statewide elected officials for effective funding and education legislation.

What is your stance on school finance and recapture?
Over the past several years, the state has systematically reduced its funding percentages/contributions for public education, placing an increasingly disproportionate funding burden on local taxpayers. I support passage of [House Bill] 3, which will increase per-student funding by the state and raise the recapture ceiling, avoiding Chapter 41 status for PfISD.

Does the district need to revisit its district of innovation exemptions?
I served on the [district of innovation] committee. The DOI plan took effect this year, and it is important that PfISD fully evaluate[s] outcomes once completing a full school year under the plan. A provision was put in the DOI plan requiring review of any changes by the original committee.


By Taylor Jackson Buchanan
Taylor Buchanan joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2018 after completing a master of journalism degree from the University of Texas. She worked as the senior reporter for Community Impact's Southwest Austin edition and is now the editor for the company's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition.


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