Voter guide: Montgomery ISD board of trustees Place 7

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Gary Hammons

Hometown: Hooks, Texas
Experience: U.S. Army veteran, certified public accountant, chief financial officer of QES Directional Drilling
281-507-2302 • gary.hammons@qesinc.com
Top priorities: finance, budget

What are your fiscal priorities for MISD?
Hammons: To look into anything that would reduce the deficit without impacting the classroom. I can’t really say specifics right at that point—it takes analysis to dig into it—but that would be the general thing, to identify areas that wouldn’t impact that educational value, wouldn’t impact the classroom.”

What legislative priorities do you feel are the most important locally for Montgomery ISD?
Hammons: Based on the financial side of it, the “Robin Hood” impact is obviously the biggest number right now to be addressed. I don’t know how much can be done at the local level—we’re one out of a whole lot of other districts. I read about the Robin Hood recapture law, but apparently there are some big holes in it some people wouldn’t appreciate—but it’s the law right now. That would be the biggest thing to have the biggest impact on Montgomery [schools].

What is your stance on school safety and mental health?
Hammons: There has to be a fine line between total lockdown security, and safety. It has to be in between the two of those. I was a military policeman in the army for 14 years and I have been active in the reserves, so I have some security background on chemical security and national law enforcement. Coming from that and seeing what the complete, 100 percent lockdown total security looks like, and know what schools are and how I grew up, you have to figure out what the best way is to mix the two. You’ve got to make sure everyone’s safe at school, but you’ve got to make sure it’s not a prison. I don’t think militarization is the answer, I don’t think bulletproof glass is the answer. What is the answer, I can’t say, and could be different in different places—MISD is different than (Harris) ISD or other places.

What do you envision for the future of MISD?
Hammons: I hope we can get the financial deficit rectified. Just like anybody’s home, you can’t run negative very long without having some problems. Right now, it’s not going to affect the classrooms, but right now if we continue down this road we’re on, eventually it has to, and that’s what we’re trying to head off in my run. You shouldn’t make any money or lose any money. That’s the whole thing—the bond covered the school [building]costs, but didn’t cover maintenance, the janitor, the groundskeeper. You’ve got to be a little more conservative with people’s money.

Russell Messecar

Russell Messecar

Hometown: Montgomery
Experience: Strollin’ R Inc. owner for 29 years, Conroe Church of Christ member for 46 years, Richards, Montgomery Masonic Lodges member for 25 years
936-672-6586 • messecar4misd@gmail.com
Top priorities: student, teacher needs; cater to demographics of the district

What are your fiscal priorities for MISD?
Messecar: There’s a little bit of a budget issue now with recapture in Austin, having to give so much money to Austin… As a board member I want to provide a culture that attracts the top educators, staff, and students to our district. We must continue to provide not only a top notch education but also activities that will inspire students to be creative and insightful about their futures. A learning experience that will make kids optimistic and look forward to their next chapter in life. To do these things we must use the tax revenue and funds available with the utmost discretion.

What legislative priorities do you feel are the most important locally for Montgomery ISD?
Messecar: We as a board, must keep the parents, tax payers, and employees of our district aware of new legislation that will affect our funds and encourage them to contact local and state lawmakers with district concerns.

What is your stance on school safety and mental health?
Messecar: Parents need the assurance that their children are safe. I want to provide the staff and MISD Police with proper supplies and training to protect our facilities, and to encourage them to work with county officials and agencies to recognize threats and keep them out of our schools.

What do you envision for the future of MISD?
Messecar: As new developments and growth continues here in Montgomery we will need to evolve as well. We have learned from opening new schools recently and can take that knowledge to make even better decisions on how to move forward. Past board members and administrations have done an excellent job and I want to be a part of the team that continues that tradition.

 

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Jules Rogers
Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Jules Rogers has been covering community journalism and urban trade news since 2014. She moved to Houston in June 2018 to become an editor with Community Impact Newspaper after four years of reporting for various newspapers affiliated with the Portland Tribune in Oregon, including two years at the Portland Business Tribune. Before that, Jules spent time reporting for the Grants Pass Daily Courier in Southern Oregon. Her favorite beats to cover are business, economic development and urban planning.
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