Semida Voicu is running for the Plano ISD board of trustees Place 5 seat.
Voicu is running against current Place 5 trustee David Stolle.
Community Impact Newspaper sent Voicu a set of questions about her candidacy. This article is part of ongoing May 4 election coverage and does not constitute an endorsement of the candidate. Her answers have been edited for publication style.
1. Why did you decide to run for this position?
Education has been fundamental to my quality of life. Growing up my parents taught me the value of education. They knew that a quality education would open more opportunities for me as an adult, and they were right. I am a big believer in continual education. Education allows people to grow. A great school with excellent teachers can make the world of difference to a student. The PISD vision statement resonates with me: “To empower students to be able to adapt to new learning and career opportunities throughout their lives.” Having the continual level of high-quality education that PISD can provide is paramount. We should be responding to the hopes of the children, the parents, the teachers and the community to insure a viable, prosperous and healthy school and future. I want to work together to maintain and surpass those goals.
2. What Experience—professionally or politically—do you have that would prepare you for this position?
I am mentally, physically and emotionally invested in PISD and education on a daily basis. I have two children in middle school, one in high school, one graduating, and my first child graduated last year from Plano Senior High and is currently in college. I have been involved in the Rasor PTA and Plano Senior PTA. I am involved with Hendrick and Clark PTA; my kids are in sports, school clubs; they work as referees; my daughter is a lifeguard and a Learn to Swim teacher for the city of Plano. I am also owner of an independent real estate brokerage company. I meet new people who want to live in Plano, who want their children to go to schools here. They want the best of what Plano has to offer. I negotiate to obtain the best outcome for my clients while listening to their hopes and concerns. I invest to learn the skills to help advocate for my clients, and I will do the same for the students, parents, teachers and stakeholders of PISD. Simon Sinek stated: “Leaders needn’t be the loudest. Leadership is not theatre. It is not about dominance. It is about putting the lives of others before any other priority.”
3. If elected, what are some specific policies you would implement in PISD?
We need to implement proactive policies. We need proactive responsibility for our students and our teachers and take responsibility to provide opportunities for the kids while being responsible with our resources. We need proactive transparency and accountability. We need to also foster a dynamic community. We need to focus on policies that prepare our students to learn and earn, which includes third-grade reading goals; it includes vocational and technical skills and certifications; it includes SAT/ACT preparation and helping our high school seniors with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to help bridge gaps and create opportunities. I believe proactive educational and fiscal policies will help serve the needs of our students now and for the future.
4. Are there specific areas in the district’s budget that you would consider funding more or funding less?
There is a disconnect between the acknowledged educational and demographic trends and planned expenditures and projects. We need to unite the two and focus on what PISD can control. We have a revenue rate of $1.17 per $100 of taxable assessed value of which $0.394 goes to recapture. We need to aim for what we can actually administer. We need to use what we have as our basis. The current forecasting models show a decline in growth in our district. For the 2018-19 school year it was predicted that we had 946 less students. On Feb. 19, the PISD board discussed next year’s anticipated deficit of $27.4 million. We need to plan with what we have and make the best use of our resources while providing the most opportunities for our students. We need to look at new and innovative methods of funding and allocating. We need transparency in budgetary decisions. The discussions should be in an open and public manner to insure that those affected in specific areas are heard and taken into consideration.
5. What else do you want constituents to know about you and your background?
I came to America when I was 6 years old from Romania. My parents instilled in me the belief that education will create opportunities. They had to believe that the school system in Texas would provide that success. They had to learn and guide me through a system while not understanding the language. I worked full-time during high school, paid my own way through college at University of Houston where I graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in psychology and a minor in political science with honors. I continued right after and obtained an MBA in management from the University of Texas at Arlington with honors. Later I took graduate classes in education. I also received a child care director certification from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. I hold a Real Estate Negotiation Expert designation from the National Association of Realtors. My husband and I moved to Plano with a newborn 19 years ago. We are raising five children in Plano because we wanted a safe city with safe schools—a city and school system with abundant and unique resources for our children, and we are involved in all that Plano and PISD has to offer. For more information please visit my website at www.semidaforpisd.com. I appreciate your support.