Why are you the most qualified for this position?
LT: I have taught for 11 years in both public and private schools. Seven of those years were in Montgomery ISD at both the elementary and secondary level. I have taught general elementary education as well as special education and dyslexia intervention. Being an educator myself, I am the biggest advocate for teachers and staff acquiring the compensation, training, and appreciation that they deserve. I am an educator that promotes hard work, special programs, and the most qualified people to ensure the success of all children.
The board of trustees has pledged to make MISD the highest paid staff compared to surrounding districts. Are you supportive of this goal and if so, how will you help the district achieve it?
LT: I am absolutely in support of this goal. Our teachers and staff are MISD's biggest asset. MISD has historically had a phenomenal reputation and much of that is due to our administrators, teachers and staff. As a member of the MISD board of trustees, I would take the job of accountability for every penny spent seriously. I believe in being fiscally conservative not only now but in the future in order to be able to compensate our employees like they should be. It is time for MISD to pay teachers and staff more in order to show them how much they are valued and to show them that we want them to stay.
Do you see areas of the budget the district can reduce spending? If so, where and how much?
LT: Our interim superintendent, Dr. Ann Dixon, did a fabulous job of getting the ball rolling towards a balanced budget. Our new [chief financial officer], Kris Lynn, has done an incredible job at communicating and being transparent about where we are heavy in our spending. He told us that we don't have a "stuff' problem, but a "staff" problem. It seems that we need to use the people that we have more wisely in order to get jobs done. [Superintendent Heath] Morrison has continued the momentum toward meeting the board’s goals. The third budget amendment was just announced, bringing us to a balanced budget. The work isn’t over, but we are heading in the right direction. MISD also needs to be intentional in getting the most out of the money we spend. Asking questions like can we get a discounted price when buying multiple buses? Can we sell or auction off desks, lockers, science tables etc. that we are not using? This kind of mindset on every monetary decision, whether big or small, will keep us in good fiscal shape. Also, continuing to ask the questions: Is this expenditure being made in the best interest of teachers and students? Are our top priorities and financial goals being met before we move to the next project or consider new spending?