Q&A: Candidates for Katy ISD board of trustees Position 7

Meet the candidates running for Position 7 on the Katy ISD board of trustees. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Meet the candidates running for Position 7 on the Katy ISD board of trustees. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

Meet the candidates running for Position 7 on the Katy ISD board of trustees. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)



HOUSTON



Katy ISD board of trustees position 7










Dawn Champagne *incumbent



Occupation: Katy ISD board of trustees Position 7; part-time sales clerk at Rachael's Hallmark


Experience: volunteering: Katy Responds, an organization that helps repair homes impacted by Harvey, 2020-21; Clothed by Faith, 2015-20; Mighty Mask Makers, 2020, founded by Dawn Champagne, (we provided over 3,000 masks at no charge to front-line workers, hospital patients, teachers and more); St. Peter’s United Methodist Church: Sunday school Leader, 2003-present, vacation Bible school leader, 2005-present, Participated in several mission trips, and was Mothers’ Share Group leader for two years), 2002-21; Girl Scouts troop leader, 2007-18; Boy Scouts (religious class teacher); 2008-19; National Charity League (mother/daughter organization for charity work for a variety of organizations in our community), 2012-20. Katy ISD: Katy ISD school board, 2018 to present; TASB director 2021; KEYS mentoring, 2015 to present; Taylor HS: PTO president 2016-18; Volunteer of the Year Taylor High School 2017-18; Project Grad president Taylor HS, 2017-18 and helped with project grad 2014-15 and 2019-20; pizza coordinator Taylor HS, 2015-18; counselor coordinator Taylor HS, 2014-16; sold pizza nearly every Thursday from 2011-20; Katy ISD Bond Committee member, 2017; secretary Katy ISD Council of PTAs, 2016-17; McMeans JH: PTA board member 2012-16 (fundraising VP and VIPS VP); choir teacher’s office aide 2014-16; band director’s office aide 2013-14; eighth grade dance coordinator 2013-14; helped with eighth grade dance 2010-11 and 2015-16; Volunteer of the Year 2015-16; Exley Elementary: president of PTA, 2008-10, on the board of Exley PTA as VP from 2010-13; room mom several times from 2004-13; PTA officer training 2008, 2014, 2015; Katy Leadership 2010-11 and 2016-17; junior achievement teacher 2004-19




What is the biggest issue facing Katy ISD, and how would you address it?



DC: Mental health is one of the biggest issues right now with students, especially during this epic time of this pandemic. I want to make sure that all students’ emotional and psychological needs are met. I would love to see if we could move toward having actual on-site therapists at our campuses. Our counselors at the high schools are overworked with the workload that they have already. We need to be there for our children in their times of need.



The winter storm in February left many Katy ISD campuses and facilities damaged and without power. How will you ensure that the district is better prepared to handle similar events in the future?



DC: I feel that our maintenance and operations staff did a fabulous job with the damages that our schools obtained during the winter storm. That department worked around the clock to make sure that our schools could open safely. The only reason we could not open on Monday was due to the boil water situation that we were in.



How should Katy ISD plan and prepare for the district's continued growth in order to best utilize existing and future campuses and facilities?



DC: We need to continue to look at the information that demographers provide to us. They are able to tell us where our growth is expected to be and how much our growth will be. Some of our schools are busting at the seams. It is not good for either our students or our overworked teachers to be in overcrowded schools. We need to keep our student-teacher ratios down for the best learning environment possible. Let’s see how this bond election goes. I am here to help provide what the community members want. Their votes will count this May.









Walter Butler



Occupation: territory manager, John Deere; co-owner with my wife of WeightLossWithDarla.com; investor


Experience: 30 years working for U.S. energy and agricultural companies; 10 years business ownership






What is the biggest issue facing Katy ISD, and how would you address it?



WB: Getting all kids back in school. Safely. Rejecting self-interested influence that seeks to use the pandemic to further its own agenda.



The winter storm in February left many Katy ISD campuses and facilities damaged and without power. How will you ensure that the district is better prepared to handle similar events in the future?



WB: I have yet to see a listing of facilities detailing the damage sustained. Maybe there is a list. This list will provide patterns identifying the biggest issues to correct.



How should Katy ISD plan and prepare for the district's continued growth in order to best utilize existing and future campuses and facilities?



WB: Katy ISD outstanding debt is $1.889 billion, with facilities valued at $2.2 billion. That is debt put to good use. However, the financial strength of Katy ISD is based on the financial strength of its residents. Given the assault on the oil and gas industry coming from certain powerful groups, future tax bases may not be able to sustain the same high-quality rating and pace of expansion of Katy ISD debt. Continued growth planning should take into account these evolving dynamics.


By Morgan Theophil
Morgan joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2021 as the reporter for the Katy edition. She graduated from the University of Oregon's School of Journalism in 2018.