In anticipation of Fort Bend ISD’s election for board of trustee positions 1, 4 and 5, Community Impact Newspaper asked the candidates some questions about their plans, if elected, and what they think of the school district right now.
See what candidates for Position 1 incumbent Jason Burdine, a financial advisor, and L. Angelo DeCamps, a commercial banker, had to say. Answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.
Question 1: Why are you running for trustee?
Jason Burdine: The past three years I have had the pleasure to serve with a [cohesive] board who individually have a different perspective but also have the ability to come to consensus for the better of our students, staff and community. Together, our board has many accomplishments in which the health of our district and community have benefited.
L. Angelo DeCamps: I have been a resident of Fort Bend County for over 30 years, and I am very proud to call myself a product of FBISD. My wife and I are raising our eight children in Fort Bend. Our two oldest have graduated from FBISD and we currently have two children at Travis High School, one at Bowie Middle School, and two at Oakland Elementary [School].
I am passionate about the education of our children and have a vested interest in the success of our school district. As a student and parent, I have seen firsthand how easy it is for our school district to label students and not communicate clearly to parents their rights as well as the reasoning behind administrative decisions.
Question 2: What is FBISD’s biggest challenge right now, and what do you think of the current school board’s response to that challenge?
JB: Our biggest challenge is the changing demographics and how we alter our district practices and policies to meet the needs of all of our students. We have implemented programs like the [Educators Dedicated to Growing Excellence, or] EDGE model that targets specific struggling schools and have developed innovative teaching models and practices.
Our goal is to give every child in FBISD the opportunity to succeed in today’s society and reach their full potential. We will continue to be innovative in our approaches to ensure we can reach every child and give them the correct tools.
LAD: I think transparency in matters of financial and administrative decision-making is the biggest challenge for the district. Currently, it seems the board is transparent after a decision is made, but I feel they do not communicate to the parents, students and teachers before that decision is made and explain how it will impact the district.
Question 3: How would you describe the level of board support for teachers in FBISD and would you do anything differently, if elected?
JB: Our board always considers teachers in every decision we make—from construction to classroom policy. We want our teachers to be successful and allow them the opportunity to teach. Our board has advocated locally and in Austin with our lawmakers to modify legislation that hinders the ability of our teachers.
I believe that the success of our district has everything to do with our teachers and their ability to do their job. I would continue to advocate for our teachers and public education locally and in Austin. Our board has built relationships and created a list of legislative priorities so that our lawmakers understand today’s struggles in our community and our district.
LAD: I truly believe the board support for teachers is failing because it seems that we are requiring more from them and yet asking them to do it with less resources. One of the things I would do differently is hold quarterly town hall meetings where we communicate the decisions we are thinking about implementing and listen to their feedback and concerns.
Question 4: How would you describe the level of equitable access to resources and class offerings for all FBISD students? Do you think it could or needs to be improved?
JB: We have specific programs designed to reach schools that need the correct resources to succeed. The EDGE model, which was implemented this school year, was designed to be innovative so that those students can compete with other schools in our district and state.
There is always work to be done and as we continue to write curriculum we will continue to be innovative in the models we use to make sure we have equitable access for all students so that every student can reach their full potential.
LAD: I am specifically aware of the resources available in the schools my children attend and believe that the children in special education are struggling to receive the resources needed in order for them to succeed. I am looking forward to learning about the needs of all of the students in our school district and understanding the resources that are available to them, especially those who attend Title I schools.
I truly believe that every child in Fort Bend deserves the best education we can give them. I will fight to make sure that is happening in FBISD.