2015 WISD Trustee Candidate Questionnaire Responses Share:Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Posted in 2015 WISD School Board Election, Waxahachie on March 28, 2015 by Publisher Seven candidates are vying for three Waxahachie ISD Board of Trustee positions for the May 9 election.Seven candidates are vying for a place on the Waxahachie Independent School District Board of Trustees. Voters will take to the polls on May 9 to cast a ballot for their preferred choices to fill three of seven seats that are up for election.Matt Authier, Shannon Moyers, Clay Schoolfield, Theresa Smithey and James Villarreal are looking to unseat incumbents Gary Fox and Joe Langley, who both are running for re-election. A third seat is up for grabs as Mark Price, elected in 2003, chose not to seek re-election.Fox was elected in 2009 and is seeking his third term. Langley was elected in 2000 and is seeking his sixth term.Get to know each candidate by reviewing their responses to several questions posed by Ellis County Citizen. Compare the responses of each candidate to each question below or click on a candidate's name above to view an individual candidate's responses to all questions on one page.Election day voting will be held on Saturday, May 9 from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Marvin Elementary located at 110 Brown Street.Early Voting will take place Monday, April 27 through Tuesday, May 5 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the WISD Administration building located at 411 N. Gibson.Residents who are not registered to vote must do so by April 9. Contact the Ellis County Registration Office at 972-923-5195 for information about registering.Candidate questionnaire responses1) What personal background information would you like to share with voters, such as your family, hobbies, personality, etc?Click for Matt Authier's responseMatt Authier:I am an ordained elder at Central Presbyterian Church, where I also serve as the youth director and an active member of the Mission Ministry Team. In addition, I helped establish an outreach program called Second Saturday Service, where local community members perform service projects for local agencies and individuals in need. My heart is for the kids in our community; therefore, I have spent a great deal of my time as a mentor at Presbyterian Children’s Home and Services. My wife and I have two boys, Anderson and Brooks.Click for Gary Fox's responseGary Fox:My family consists of my wife of 34 years, Teri Fox, our daughter Jennifer, and our son Justin. Jennifer is the Assistant Director of University Events & Student Organizations at UT Arlington and is working on her doctorate in higher education. Justin is continuing his education to be a coach and teacher. I am a retired teacher having taught 30 years. I sing and play guitar and we have a family band.Click for Joe Langley's responseJoe Langley:I am married to Cheryl Langley. We have one son. I have pastored Park Meadows Baptist Church since 1986. I have authored one book and have another manuscript almost ready to send to a publisher. I enjoy participating in Waxahachie Community Theater productions.Click for Shannon Moyers' responseShannon Moyers:Currently, I am the practice administrator for Pinnacle Pain Medicine, and have been employed by them for ten years. I've been a licensed vocational nurse for 7 years. I'm responsible for the daily operations of this busy practice that cares for chronic pain patients. When not working, the majority of my time is devoted to my two sons, Connor and Spencer.Click for Clay Schoolfield's responseClay Schoolfield:My family and I enjoy time on our ranches, which allows to hunt, fish, ride horses and live a slower paced life.Click for Theresa Smithey's responseTheresa Smithey:Professional Experience: Bachelor of Science, University of Texas at Austin, Assistant Scientist - Mary Kay Corporation and Teacher for 11 years (Pre-Advanced Placement Biology and Anatomy and Physiology), small business owner (Longhorn Properties, 14 years, Smithey’s Power Clean Carwash, 1 year). I am also an active member of First United Methodist Church in Waxahachie where I serve as Communications coordinator of the Asbury Sunday school class and also serve on the Lay Leadership committee for the church.My father was a Colonel in the United States Air Force; therefore I grew up across the globe. I believe this childhood experience has made me a well-rounded individual. I believe growing up moving every 3 to 5 years that I am able to adjust to situations easily.I have been married to my husband for 18 years. He is a Lieutenant in the Dallas Fire Department. My hobbies include running, horseback riding, and scrapbooking. I also enjoy watching my children participate in their many activities. My son plays tennis for WISD as well as plays in the outstanding Spirit of Waxahachie Indian band. My daughter is an avid softball and volleyball player who also enjoys riding horses. My youngest plays baseball in the Waxahachie Youth Baseball League of Waxahachie.Click for James Villarreal's responseJames Villarreal:Married to wife Laura (23 years) sons: Bill, Jake, & Luke.2) What professional experience, community service and other qualifications do you have that would make you an effective trustee?Click for Matt Authier's responseMatt Authier:After graduating from Texas A&M University with a Master’s Degree in Finance I attained my certification as a Certified Public Accountant, licensed through the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy. While employed as an auditor at Deloitte and Touche, I audited local school districts, including Mansfield ISD and Dallas ISD.Currently, I am employed by RR Advisors LLC, an investment advisor, where I serve as Fund Controller over oil and gas and private equity investment funds. I am a member of the Texas Society of CPAs.I have spent the last five years giving most of my time to our church, where I serve the youth as their youth director, and the chair of the mission ministry team. I am also a member of the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce, where we support local businesses and the role they play in our community.Click for Gary Fox's responseGary Fox:My 30 years of teaching experience has proven to be a great asset and has helped me be an effective board member. I taught nine years of math at the junior high level and 21 years in elementary special education. I have also taught on the high school level and have been a coach. During my six years as a WISD trustee, almost everything that has come up I have seen or dealt with in my own career. I understand the challenges our educators, students, parents, and tax payers are faced with every day. My six years of service on the WISD School Board and over 150 school board training hours provide me with the experience and knowledge to be an effective trustee.My community service includes working with Operation First Day of School for six years. I am a member of Impact Waxahachie since 2011 where I am actively involved in their Crazy For My Kids campaign. I have helped with the Rotary Cow Creek Country Classic Bike Ride for 27 years. I have been a D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything And Read) Day reader for six years, served as an officer in the Waxahachie Quarterback Club, and am a big supporter of Special Olympics. I regularly attend meetings of the Waxahachie Education Foundation, Student Health Advisory Council, and the Special Education Advisory Committee. I try to show my support by attending as many WISD events as possible.Click for Joe Langley's responseJoe Langley:I have been involved on numerous civic boards and school committees over the past 25 years. These include YMCA, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Waxahachie Foundation, Friends of Sim's Library, and others. I have been a school trustee since 2000.Click for Shannon Moyers' responseShannon Moyers:First and foremost, I'm a mother. Every parent wants what is best for their child; to give them opportunities that may not have been afforded to themselves. I will diligently work in ensuring that ALL STUDENTS, ALL NEEDS are met, and nurtured, so that students can be successful in whatever career path they choose.In addition, being involved in the medical field allows me the empathy necessary when looking at the human part of the equation. Life isn't always black and white. While I fully understand the necessity of standardized testing, a child and/or educator is not defined by their test scores. We must explore ways to ensure that all students reach their full potential. As a medical practice administrator, I'm required to balance budget requirements while still providing impeccable care to patients.Lastly, I've been in attendance of every school board meeting since the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year. I have also followed the Long Range Planning Committee meetings very closely, so I'm well versed in the issues currently faced by the district.Click for Clay Schoolfield's responseClay Schoolfield:My experience in both business and education give me a perspective that will be valuable as WISD makes very important decisions in the coming months and years.Having spent seven years in the classroom, as recently as 2011, allows me to evaluate the real effect of WISD Board decisions from the perspective of teachers. My business experience gives me a sound fiscal background against which all our decisions must be viewed.I have also owned my own insurance agency for 15 plus years and managed a cattle operation for over 20 years. These two endeavors have made me very familiar with asset management and allocation.Click for Theresa Smithey's responseTheresa Smithey:My experience includes working in the corporate world for 7 years and managing a research budget at Mary Kay Corporation. In addition, I am currently a teacher who can provide prospective of what works in a classroom and what resources give the most "bang for your buck." While my husband and I manage our real estate portfolio, I too can see the burden high property taxes can bring to a community. I have the unique perspective to see both sides, the need to provide for our students and teachers and also continue to be careful with the taxpayer’s money.Click for James Villarreal's responseJames Villarreal:Recreation Superintendent, City of Waxahachie (15 years).WISD Education Foundation Board Member 2010-2013, WISD Bond Steering Committee, WISD Mentor, WISD Operation First Day of School, Grateful DADS (High School), DADS at the Door (Felty, Howard), Leadership Waxahachie Graduate, Fellowship of Christian Athletes Adult Huddle, Baylor Scott and White Patient Advisory Council, Waxahachie Youth Baseball Coach, YMCA Soccer & Flag Football Coach, Texas Amateur Athletic Federation-President, Texas Recreation & Parks Society Board.3) Do you currently have any children attending a WISD school or have you had any children attend a WISD school in the past and how long ago was it?Click for Matt Authier's responseMatt Authier:My wife and I have two young boys who will enter the public school system in WISD very soon. Our two boys have their entire school careers ahead of them. Kate and I are committed to the public school system for our children. We pay for public education, via our property taxes, whether we like it or not, and I feel strongly about making the return on that investment as rewarding as possible.Click for Gary Fox's responseGary Fox:I currently do not have a child attending WISD as our youngest, Justin, graduated from WHS in 2012.Click for Joe Langley's responseJoe Langley:My son attended WISD since third grade. He graduated in 1999. I think it is good that parents serve on the school board; I chose to wait until my son graduated before I served. Both are good approaches; the board is stronger when both approaches are chosen.Click for Shannon Moyers' responseShannon Moyers:I'm the very proud mother of two sons who are currently enrolled in WISD. Spencer 16, who attends Global High School, and Connor, 9, who attends Shackleford Elementary.Click for Clay Schoolfield's responseClay Schoolfield:My two children currently attend WISD. I have a son in 7th grade and a daughter in 2nd grade.Click for Theresa Smithey's responseTheresa Smithey:I have 3 children attending WISD schools. I have a child in second grade, another in sixth grade and a third child in ninth grade.Click for James Villarreal's responseJames Villarreal:Yes, Luke is a 6th grader at Howard Jr. High. Bill graduated Waxahachie High Class of 2005. Jake graduated Waxahachie High Class of 2013.4) How long have you lived in Waxahachie?Click for Matt Authier's responseMatt Authier:My wife and I are from Corsicana, both attended Texas A&M University, and then moved to Waxahachie in 2010. I know what it is like to grow up in a community like Waxahachie, work through high school to put myself through college, and the foundation those efforts laid for a fulfilling future. We felt something special about this community the moment we walked around the courthouse square. We knew this would be our home, and the place we wanted to raise a family and invest our time and efforts to help build a better Waxahachie for generations to come.Click for Gary Fox's responseGary Fox:I have lived in Waxahachie 59 years. I started school in 1961 at Northside Elementary and graduated from WHS IN 1973.Click for Joe Langley's responseJoe Langley:I have lived in Waxahachie since 1989.Click for Shannon Moyers' responseShannon Moyers:I've happily called Waxahachie home for 17 years. It's the type of town I want to raise my children in.Click for Clay Schoolfield's responseClay Schoolfield:My family moved to Waxahachie in 1976. I was in the second grade at the time. I left for college in 1987 but quickly realized that Waxahachie was where I wanted to live and raise my family. Waxahachie has been my home for nearly forty years.Click for Theresa Smithey's responseTheresa Smithey:16 yearsClick for James Villarreal's responseJames Villarreal:45 years5) What reasons made you decide to run for the Waxahachie ISD school board?Click for Matt Authier's responseMatt Authier:First, my background is a CPA, auditor, and fiscal conservative. I see our community growing, and with that growth comes the critical task of efficient spending to meet the needs of growth. Our school board needs members that are astute in governmental finance and I will be the only candidate that has hands on experience auditing school district finances and internal controls. As an auditor, my job was to verify, and as a Trustee, I will ensure our tax dollars are being used in the most meaningful ways possible.Next, I served on the Long Range Planning Committee for the district, and completely enveloped myself in that process. I have spent the last 9 months researching curriculum options, facility’s needs, staffing, attending school board meetings, and talking to parents and educators in our district. With my wife being an educator, we frequently discuss the role of public education in our society. She has hands on experience with what is happening in our school system at the grassroots level, and we are able to have meaningful discussions on those issues, both positive and negative.As a member of the LRPC, I found myself asking more questions about curriculum and college and career preparedness, while others were talking about land and buildings. I understand the need for facilities, and am not naive enough to think we can grow without new buildings. However, if we don’t start focusing on what happens within those buildings, then we have failed our students, teachers, and taxpayers.I want our students and educators to be proud of the public education system we have in WISD. We currently have more than 2,500 students in our area, who have decided to attend schools outside of WISD (Life School, Waxahachie Prep, St. Joseph’s, Red Oak, Maypearl, etc). When elected, I will diligently work to ensure that we take the necessary steps to give better curriculum and life learning opportunities in the WISD, as available in any public or private school in Ellis County. I have and will listen to the reasons and needs of those who choose to send their children to other schools rather than the WISD, and will work persistently to correct what they view as roadblocks.We are at a pivotal time in the life of our community as we embrace for impending growth. How we plan, manage, and embrace that growth, will likely define how our community looks and feels for the next 50 years. I am a part of this new growth. I am someone who chose this community because of what it does offer, and the potential it has to offer families like mine.I believe that my profession as a CPA, the fact that I have attended WISD board meetings for months and months, my marriage to an educator, my dedication to youth through our church and community activities, and my proven track record of listening, learning, and leading, sets me apart from the other candidates.Click for Gary Fox's responseGary Fox:When I retired from teaching in 2008, I knew I was not finished helping kids. I felt that being on the school board would be a good way to continue to help. In 2015, I still have the same desire to serve. My whole life has been devoted to education and I truly care about everyone who lives, works, and goes to school in the Waxahachie Independent School District.Click for Joe Langley's responseJoe Langley:I am excited about the challenges and vision for the future of WISD. Education is one of the main factors for success for individuals and our community.Click for Shannon Moyers' responseShannon Moyers:Honestly, it wasn't until this last year, while attending school board meetings, following the long range planning committee discussions, and numerous open records requests, both with the district and TEA, that it became blatantly apparent that Waxahachie ISD has issues. There is a disproportionate amount of funding spent on non-academic expenditures in comparison to academics. I would like to see more focus put on education. Emphasis placed on preparing our youth for post-secondary education and beyond, so that they have the best chance possible of becoming productive members of society. In addition, I would like for special education programs to be more equitable, and see more emphasis put on supporting those students as other student programs within the district. I also feel that we need more math and reading intervention support at the elementary and junior high level, to assist in closing the achievement gap.Click for Clay Schoolfield's responseClay Schoolfield:1. I want the children of this community to have the very best education possible.2. Outstanding schools will be the single greatest driver of economic growth for Waxahachie. WISD must make decisions that benefit our entire community–our students and teachers, as well as our taxpayers.3. Waxahachie is in a unique position today where our local economy is doing well, and our city is growing. More families are moving here, seeking the quality of life that has made our city great for decades. But our schools must keep up with this growth, and we have to plan wisely both near-term (new high school and other campuses) and long-term.Click for Theresa Smithey's responseTheresa Smithey:After presenting to the board this February concerning GPA and class standing distribution, I realized many on the board no longer have children in the district and as a result found there to be a disconnect between the board and the schools. I have a child in each level of the education system, elementary, middle and high school. I have daily experience in dealing with the reality and challenges in the district. Also, with my husband, I help run our businesses and have a solid understanding of budgets, debt, cash flow, saving and planning for the future.Click for James Villarreal's responseJames Villarreal:My decision to run is primarily because of my love and commitment to Waxahachie. Like the current trustees, I will be devoted to making WISD the BEST in education. I want to continue the WISD tradition of excellence and help contribute to the future of our children’s education. I want to serve and give back to the community that has provided for me and my family.6) What experience do you have with complicated budgets?Click for Matt Authier's responseMatt Authier:I am a licensed CPA and spent four years as an auditor for Deloitte and Touche. I spent three years auditing school districts and municipalities, including Dallas ISD, Mansfield ISD, and the City of North Richland Hills. My job was to understand complicated budgets, and more than that, to audit them for reasonableness and accuracy. I continue to do this in my role as an employee of an investment advisor. I see myself having the most firm grasp on complicated budgets the first day I am in office, if elected.Click for Gary Fox's responseGary Fox:I have six years of experience working with the WISD budget.Click for Joe Langley's responseJoe Langley:I have received extensive training in overseeing large budgets.Click for Shannon Moyers' responseShannon Moyers:As a medical office administrator, budgets are a major part of my daily job duties. It is my responsibility to manage all aspects of the practices revenue and expenditures.Click for Clay Schoolfield's responseClay Schoolfield:As the owner of two types of business for many years (insurance agency/cattle) I have had to make and adhere to budgets through good times and bad. Having to make a budget and actually live with it on personal level has been an important part of personal growth for me. We need to see that same discipline from the district.Click for Theresa Smithey's responseTheresa Smithey:I was a product development and research scientist at Mary Kay Cosmetics. During my time there I was in charge of my department’s research budget for four years.Click for James Villarreal's responseJames Villarreal:Working for a municipality over the past 15 years has given me a wide range experience from budgeting and maintaining a budget, planning, managing employees, and construction of several buildings. I oversee nearly a million dollar budget on an annual basis and understand the complexity of line items, expenditures, and revenues.7) In your view, what has the district done well over the last five years? What has the district done poorly that you would change?Click for Matt Authier's responseMatt Authier:During 2008-2012, when many municipalities and school districts had to make severe cuts and staffing reductions, WISD was able to maintain its staff levels. This is a testament to the planning, resource management, and fiscal responsibility our administration and school board maintained during those tough recessive years. Our district was able to keep jobs for our educators, when other places were making dramatic cuts to staffing numbers. I commend our administration for those efforts.During that same time, I wish we had put an increased focus on preparing for growth and how prepared our facilities were for growth. We are now in a really serious situation, where we must react to the growth of the past five years, and prepare for exponential growth that is projected before 2020.Lastly, we have not yet been able to offer an educational product that is, in reality or appearance, superior to those of charter and private school options in our community. I am not opposed to parents making that decision for their children; I just think there is no excuse why our public school system can’t offer an equal or better alternative. We have over 2,000 kids in our county that have made the decision not to attend WISD schools. That has to change and we must offer more creative and engaging opportunities for our young people to learn.Click for Gary Fox's responseGary Fox:One thing that our district has done well over the past five years is manage money. During bad economic times, our district did not have to lay off teachers. When other surrounding districts were having to let teachers go, WISD was able to keep its staff in place. We were able to give a lump sum raise to all employees and continue to add raises making us competitive with other districts. We completed a major district wide technology upgrade and also implemented the iPad nation program. I am sure that there are things that we could improve on, but I know that in all the decisions that we have made, we always tried to do the right thing for the students and teachers, while trying to be responsible with the taxpayer’s money.Click for Joe Langley's responseJoe Langley:District has done well: We have seen consistent gains in student achievement. Have done poorly: We allowed our teacher pay to fall to fourth in Ellis County. We were losing many good teachers. That has changed, but we must continue to monitor it.Click for Shannon Moyers' responseShannon Moyers:I believe the district has done well increasing the options for students, such as the culinary arts program, dual credit and AP opportunities, CTE courses, and an award winning music program that is phenomenal. Also, I'm glad to see that the district has now developed the opportunity for a full day Pre K program, and bilingual education program. In this district, we are blessed with a nationally recognized high school, in Global High School. It is the state model that all other STEM/ECHS schools try to emulate. I'm also happy to see educators get the recognition they so rightfully deserve, with several of our educators winning national awards.I believe the district could improve on transparency, most definitely. I believe fiscal responsibility is also a big concern for the majority of voters. After past bond referendums for stadium improvements, we are now discussing the possibility of relocating an entire high school population, away from that stadium, requiring additional transportation costs? I also question the necessity of hiring the amount of coaches we have at this time. I would like to see equal recognition of students throughout the district. There is not always the same recognition of accomplishments at all schools within the district, and that needs to change.Click for Clay Schoolfield's responseClay Schoolfield:The district has improved facilities both through construction and maintenance which is good. WISD investment in technology has also been important for our students. This being said, I feel long range planning has often been lacking and is certainly very important now.Click for Theresa Smithey's responseTheresa Smithey:What the district has done well: supporting the Spirit of Waxahachie Indian Band, openness of communication with teachers and response of teachers to parents, on-line grade reports, Global High, supporting the students that require supplemental instruction, Education Foundation and the volunteers who run the foundation, Gifted and Talented program.What the district has done poorly: lack of support in the SAT/ACT preparation, little support for the high achieving student that desires to go to university, having user friendly technology readily available to both teachers and students.Click for James Villarreal's responseJames Villarreal:The district has excelled in the last few years in its programs. Our award winning band finished top 7 in the state at their last state marching contest, the fine arts program just won their zone competition in One Act Play. Global High continues to excel as it was named one of U. S. News and World Report Best High Schools of 2014. This district was just named Best Community For Music Education in 2014. Waxahachie High School Yearbook staff was just recognized for excellence and “The Chief” yearbook will be featured in the 2015 Jostens Look Book.District data reports that the economically disadvantage students test scores are below the states average. We must set HIGH expectations across the board and provide students with the appropriate support and tools to reach those expectations.8) If elected as a trustee, what do you plan to accomplish while serving the district?Click for Matt Authier's responseMatt Authier:I want Waxahachie ISD to be an education destination in North Texas. As we grow, and growth is inevitable, I want the school district to be at the top of the list of why people choose to call Waxahachie home. This means an increased and intentional focus on the academic experience that our students and educators have each time they walk away from of our campuses. We need an increased focus on college and career preparedness. For students on the college track, we need to prepare them early (7th/8th grade) for PSAT/SAT/ACT exams.Our junior high and high school campuses need to have full time counselors assigned specifically to ensuring our students and parents are inundated with information related to preparing for college.On the other hand, some of our students will not have the ability or have the desire to attend college. We need to identify these students early and put them on a track to develop a skill set that will equate to success post high school. This means a more effective approach to Career and Technical Education.Also, I want to ensure that each campus has the personnel needed to help the students in WISD be successful. We are understaffed in our special education programs across the district, and students enrolled in these programs make up nearly 10% of our students. A brighter light needs to be placed on our special education programs.Further, we have wonderful teachers in WISD, and we need to ensure they are developing as educators, and give them the opportunities to engage in effective training to meet those development goals.Click for Gary Fox's responseGary Fox:I want to see the projects that we have been working on come to fruition. Some examples are extending our Pre-k and Dual Language programs, replacing the Turner Gym, and addressing security issues and growth of the district. Most importantly, I want to improve our test scores and concentrate on academics. We have accomplished a lot over the past few years, but we have several goals that need to be completed.Click for Joe Langley's responseJoe Langley:I intend to serve the children and parents of WISD by providing the best possible educational opportunities. I want to emphasize career training in addition to preparation for college.Click for Shannon Moyers' responseShannon Moyers:I would like to see improvements on the above issues that I feel us, as a district, could perform better. I'd like to establish an open door policy and allow the community more input on the future of our school district. It has been my experience that transparency has been lacking within the district. Educators, parents, and students should feel comfortable voicing concerns without fear of retribution. In addition, more accountability is needed. As elected officials, it is our responsibility to execute the decisions voted on by the community, and see them to fruition. I'd also like to see more community involvement, and feel that the opportunity for input needs to be more than what has been offered in the past. Committees seem to be comprised of the same individuals, chosen by district officials, over and over again, never allowing other members of the public to voice their opinions. Feedback from our community is essential.Click for Clay Schoolfield's responseClay Schoolfield:My hope would be to leave the district in a better place than before I was elected.Click for Theresa Smithey's responseTheresa Smithey:When elected and if the bond passes, I would like to be instrumental in developing the new high school with needed resources and technology for teachers and students. Also, as a trustee I would like to have assistance provided to students across all educational levels. For example, providing continued remediation to those that need it for the state exams and also provide SAT/ACT training for those students that are college bound. I would also like to see SAT/ACT classes started in the night school program to assist student who need or want to improve their college entrance exams. I believe the board needs to stay in tune to what students on all levels of the education spectrum need.Click for James Villarreal's responseJames Villarreal:I would work with fellow board members and district administration to develop or adhere to a long range financial plan. We need to be good stewards of taxpayers money and use sound judgment when it comes to spending or not spending. I think it is good we have a healthy fund balance, yet I believe we have to strike a balance between saving and spending. I know in the past dollars have been placed back, yet our teachers do not have the supplies they need in order to do their jobs and WISD salaries are not as competitive as the surrounding districts. We need to make it a priority to RETAIN quality educators.Also, developing a long range curriculum plan is vital to establishing a sound foundation that ensures academic success for ALL students. Students need to receive a quality education, infused with technology, so they are prepared as they face the challenges of college or careers.Working in partnership with fellow board members and district administration my goal would include developing and/or maintaining a long range facilities plan. WISD enrollment data shows our district is growing at a fast pace. It is imperative to have policies and procedures in place to address the anticipated growth of the district.9) What do you feel are the top three issues facing WISD and what will you do as a trustee to address those issues?Click for Matt Authier's responseMatt Authier:On a larger scale, I feel as though our school district is failing behind the curve of our surrounding communities. A number of our communities are making serious investments in public education, and we are approaching a point where we must match and exceed that commitment to our public education system in the WISD. The investment by our neighboring districts is not merely facilities, but in human capital (staffing) and a vision for what public education means in their communities moving forward. I will be proactive in coming up with ways to address the investment we need to make in our facilities and in our people. That should always be the goal of true long range planning.We need an increased focus on college and career readiness. I want to see our district make strides in better preparing our students for college entrance exams, and having advocates that work on our students’ behalf to help with the entrance process. Alternatively, we have some students who will not attend college for any number of reasons. We need to prepare them, early, for life post high school. Our school district has a number of years to help equip each student with a set of skills to prepare them for a career post high school. This means an intentional and high touch focus on Career and Technical Education.The third area that I feel needs to be addressed is special education. In our district, nearly 10% (800 students) of enrolled students participate in special education programs. We are understaffed as a district with only 7% of our teaching staff assigned to those students. I have spent a great deal of time speaking with parents and advocates of our students with special needs, and they are not happy with the attention their children are receiving from the district. To address this, we need to shine a brighter light on this portion of our student body, and that starts with adequate staffing.Click for Gary Fox's responseGary Fox:The top issue to me is to make sure that every student that comes through the door is provided with the best education possible. That means from the first day of Pre-k to Graduation. I will sincerely do my best to try and provide a safe place to learn, a great place to teach, and the support necessary to get the job done. We must also continue to address our growth and the priority of making our academics the best that they can be. We all have to pull together to make these worthwhile goals happen.Click for Joe Langley's responseJoe Langley:Top three issues: Academics, community growth, fiscal management. I will seek to make good decisions to meet the challenges of all three of those areas.Click for Shannon Moyers' responseShannon Moyers:Growth is inevitable, both as a community and school district. As a school board trustee, it is imperative that we look and weigh all options for the future of this community. The city is growing, but why are some parents choosing not to utilize the public school system, and sending their children to charter schools or homeschooling, especially at the secondary level? I think offering more options, with greater emphasis placed on academics, and would be the key to retaining some of these students.In addition, we need to work on transparency and accountability. One of the things I've always been curious about is why are the closed sessions of school board meetings held in the middle of the meeting? I think this discourages citizen participation, having a lengthy span of time in the middle of the meeting.Another issue that needs to be examined is student performance. Why are minorities and the socio-economic disadvantaged students in the district performing below state average? How do we close the learning gap?As a school board trustee I will make sure resources are available where it matters most - IN THE CLASSROOM, so students may benefit.Click for Clay Schoolfield's responseClay Schoolfield:1. Growth! We must manage our growth so we can be in charge of it, not driven by it.2. Opportunity! We have two high schools now ( not counting high school of choice/ challenge academy). I think that building on the success of global high and expanding its programs is very important for our community. I would really like to see more local students enrolled there. In order for this to happen we need to expand the offerings available to attract more students. With construction of a new high school we will have to opportunity to create a new environment from the ground up. This community has not had that opportunity since the early 1970's. At that time many in the community thought building a school on a farm north of town was a poor idea. I am thankful for the people in made it happen. It's time for this generation to provide opportunities.3. Management! We must manage our dollars wisely! Projects must be completed in a financially responsible manner. The devil is in the details.Click for Theresa Smithey's responseTheresa Smithey:1. Bond issue and best allocation of funds.2. Technology improvement for the schools and the possible new high school.3. Educational support for all students on all levels - from remediation to college readiness.Click for James Villarreal's responseJames Villarreal:One of the top issues the facing our district is our fast paced rate of growth. As a district, we must develop long range plans to effectively address our growth needs including classroom capacity as well as adequate staffing. Plans should include methods of better utilizing existing infrastructure, as well as working along with a demographer to prepare for future needs. We need to support our teachers as professionals and give them the ability to focus on educating our students in a non-crowded safe environment.Another issue facing the district are our low performing test scores amongst our "AT RISK" students, which includes economically disadvantage students. District data reports that the economically disadvantage students test scores are below the states average.We need to retain quality educators as well as students. WISD needs to be the premier choice of education in Waxahachie. We should be known for the excellent preparation of our students and their success after graduation.10) What are the factors on which you will base your decisions as a school board member?Click for Matt Authier's responseMatt Authier:I will do my best to be morally principled, educated, and perpetually prayerful in every decision I make as a board member. I will always ask myself does this decision equitably impact every student and/or educator in our district, and if not, what can we do to make that happen. I will study, ask tough questions, and make sure that every tax dollar spent is the most prudent use of our mission to educate in WISD. Lastly, I will always ask for input from the public. The public votes this position into office as their voice and advocate for our community.Click for Gary Fox's responseGary Fox:That is the easiest question of all. We must make every decision with the focus being on the students. The students drive every issue in a successful school district. They must always be the reason behind everything that is done.Click for Joe Langley's responseJoe Langley:I will base my decisions on prayer, careful study of the options, cost effectiveness and what is best for the students of WISD.Click for Shannon Moyers' responseShannon Moyers:1. Is this decision in the best interest of the students?2. Is this decision the best use of taxpayers' dollars?3. Are there other ways to accomplish the goal in a more fiscally conservative manner?Click for Clay Schoolfield's responseClay Schoolfield:The decisions made by the board must be based on providing for our students while being responsible with the tax payer's dollars.Click for Theresa Smithey's responseTheresa Smithey:I would base my decision on feasibility of the request. I would research the background information and make sure it is the best option for the district and the students, teachers and faculty of the district.Click for James Villarreal's responseJames Villarreal:The main factor to be considered is the student. I would take a look at an entire situation at a 30,000 foot level and then base my decision on if this is best for the students as WISD.11) If a parent or principal comes to you regarding, for example, a maintenance issue at a particular campus or a situation involving a particular teacher, how do you see your role as a school board member in resolving the issue?Click for Matt Authier's responseMatt Authier:I welcome parents and educators bringing issues to me as a board member. In fact, I view this as a mandate of the position to which I am seeking election. Once receiving that issue, I would escalate it to the appropriate administrator in the district and then ensure it is addressed in a timely manner.Click for Gary Fox's responseGary Fox:As a board member, I have always been easily approachable. I take pride in being a people person and I listen to what people say. As a rule of thumb, I think the best thing to do is to listen intently and then call Dr. Glenn to inform him of the situation. He is the man that can make things right.Click for Joe Langley's responseJoe Langley:In your example, there is one proper answer. I would encourage the individual to speak to the superintendent or his designee about the issue. A trustee's role is oversight, not day to day management.Click for Shannon Moyers' responseShannon Moyers:Too many times, individuals jump over the correct person to handle an issue, and go straight to the school board. As a board member, I will not tell personnel what to do. I would redirect the complainant to the correct person to handle the job. It is not my role as a board member to handle these issues. We need to make sure people are going through the proper channels. If the issue is unable to be resolved through the proper channels, then I would ask for the complainant to bring their issue to the board. Then it will have to be handled in the most impartial, diplomatic way for all parties involved.Click for Clay Schoolfield's responseClay Schoolfield:The board is a checks and balances system for the district. When issues are brought to the attention of a board member they need to be looked at closely. Usually these issues can be handled at a campus level and individuals need to be steered in that direction. If that is not appropriate due to scale or other issue board members should address the issue with the superintendent.Click for Theresa Smithey's responseTheresa Smithey:I would listen to the parent’s concerns and gain all the information I can from both the parent and the teacher or campus involved and make sure I have all the details. If the situation is a parent having a challenge with a teacher, I would ask to make sure the following has occurred:1. The parent has corresponded with the teacher.2. There was a parent teacher conference concerning the issue.3. There was a parent, teacher, administrator and possibly counselor conference concerning the issue.Once I know all of these steps have been taken and the issue is still not resolved, I would provide the information to the superintendent or assistant superintendent for addressing. I would then follow up on the situation with the administration and also with the parent. Likewise if the issue was about a campus or maintenance issue, I would follow similar steps to ensure all levels in the organization were informed of the situation.My role as a school board member in this situation is to be a liaison between the parent and the school board and administration. A goal of the school board is to ensure relationships with families and respond to their concerns.Click for James Villarreal's responseJames Villarreal:I would do my best to help the parent or principal. First, I would respectfully ask them to go through the proper channels, chain of command, etc. If for some reason the issue still isn't resolved I would then do what I could to help in making phone calls or emailing the proper people.12) What are your thoughts on the current WISD outstanding debt principal? According to WISD, the district currently has $115,092,535 in outstanding debt principal that represents debts from the 1997 bond issue through 2013 refunding bonds issued. Future repayment obligations through 2037 call for $131,375,577 in interest payments resulting in total payments of $246,468,111. (Source: http://www.wisd.org/default.aspx?name=BUS_Debt)Click for Matt Authier's responseMatt Authier:Debt is something that we all would rather do without, personally and as taxpayers. However, as a community grows, rapidly in our case, facilities will be needed. In the past decade, we have added a number of new campuses, and put money towards others that needed renovations. I think the important thing about debt, as it relates to school districts, is using that debt to the best and most effective use to educate every child. The difference I hope to make on the board, is making sure that when we do ask for more tax dollars from the public, it is for an amount that provides the most cost benefit to each student and educator.Click for Gary Fox's responseGary Fox:As a board, we want to be good stewards of tax payer money. Our current members are always eager to find ways to do just that. This year we refinanced to save the tax payers over 5 million dollars.Click for Joe Langley's responseJoe Langley:I am very concerned about the amount of debt. Hopefully, future growth will help reduce the burden on each of us taxpayers.Click for Shannon Moyers' responseShannon Moyers:Waxahachie is growing and it is important to realize that debt will occur to accommodate growth. Our students deserve updated facilities that will best serve their ability to learn, while being points of pride for the community. However, it is important that we are fiscally responsible and not spending frivolously, as that will hinder the future of our students, not protect it. If we are so strapped with debt that we are not able to provide for the future, that is a problem. I am in agreement that we need a new high school, but I do not support this bond. I do not believe we are making the best use of our existing facilities. The 9th grade academy is too small for a junior high. The Wilemon building is not an ideal elementary location. Global High will not be able to grow large enough to fully utilize the existing high school, without going totally against the STEM/ECHS blueprint, and thus causing its ruination. Why is it necessary to move the entire population of the high school to a new building? That's not addressing growth; it's just shifting it to a new address.Click for Clay Schoolfield's responseClay Schoolfield:These bonds were voted on and approved by voters. The board's fiduciary responsibility charges them with allocating the dollars approved and completing the projects that were voted on. In a district that is experiencing growth spending on infrastructure is going to take place. The margin of victory or defeat of a bond is irrelevant, the board is charged to meet the people's wishes. I encourage people to vote so that they can be heard!Click for Theresa Smithey's responseTheresa Smithey:As most of us have debt to finance our homes, WISD has debt to finance our schools. I am pleased the district refunded the current bonds to save money. With the refunding success, hopefully the district can continue to pay principle to reduce the interest accrued.Click for James Villarreal's responseJames Villarreal:I, as everyone else would like to see the debt ceiling as low as possible. I do not like to see my taxes go up, but I do understand that on large items bonds must be sold in order to build and construct. When it comes to spending those sound decisions have to be in the best interest of the student and we must allow the public to decide.13) Voters approved two bonds in March 2010 totaling $28,120,000 thus resulting in a property tax increase of 6.9 cents per $100 of assessed value. (Source: http://www.wisd.org/docs/1-Bond%20Brochure%20color.pdf)13a) What is your opinion of the 2010 Proposition One bond referendum? This bond totaled $22,175,000 and was used to renovate the softball field at WHS, renovations to Richards Park, renovations at the district's baseball complex and renovations and expansions to Lumpkins Stadium. Of the total bond amount, $20,139,780 was for Lumpkins Stadium alone. This resulted in a property tax increase of 4.4 cents per $100 of assessed value. This bond passed with a narrow margin of 78 votes: 1,042 FOR and 964 AGAINST.Click for Matt Authier's responseMatt Authier:This portion of the 2010 bond, in hindsight, is really tough for me to understand. I will preface this with 2010 being the year Kate and I first moved here, and this had already passed when we arrived. So, I was not aware of the campaigning reasons for either side of the bond. I think a bond as tightly contested as this one was, really shows how tough of a decision it was for voters. If I were on the board at this time, I would have asked the question “When are we going to need a new high school and where will it be?” I struggle with putting twenty million dollars into a stadium that was not going to be attached to a potential new high school five to ten years down the road. Ideally, a new stadium would have been built on the new site of the high school and on one central location. However, I am told the stadium was in poor condition, not up to accessibility standards, and needed renovations. I am just not sure twenty million was the right solution at that point in time.Click for Gary Fox's responseGary Fox:Both propositions were studied intently by the board and our administration at the time. We put it to the people for a vote, because we wanted to do what the voters wanted. We then went to work to get their wishes done.Click for Joe Langley's responseJoe Langley:I favored the first proposition. Injured persons had threatened action against the district because of the lack of hand rails and ADA compliancy issues at the old stadium. It is ridiculous that we were unable to make reasonable improvements without the ADA administration requiring a complete overhaul to the tune of 4-5 million dollars. The old stadium had served us well for over 40 years. I think it was the best approach to build a stadium that will serve us at least that long.Click for Shannon Moyers' responseShannon Moyers:There was such a low voter turnout - only 2300 votes. No matter what a person's feelings are about a bond, it is important that voters participate. It is astonishing that 100% of the citizens were saddled with debt that 7% of the population cared enough to vote about. There needs to be a long range master plan for facilities. We have known we need a new high school. Why did we update these facilities just to relocate the population that will utilize them? We have to be better planners, because this is an example of fiscal irresponsibility.Click for Clay Schoolfield's responseClay Schoolfield:These bonds were voted on and approved by voters. The board's fiduciary responsibility charges them with allocating the dollars approved and completing the projects that were voted on. In a district that is experiencing growth spending on infrastructure is going to take place. The margin of victory or defeat of a bond is irrelevant, the board is charged to meet the people's wishes. I encourage people to vote so that they can be heard!Click for Theresa Smithey's responseTheresa Smithey:Initially I was against Proposition one of the 2010 bond election. Once I gained a true understanding of the condition of the facilities I realized the upgrades were necessary. We want to have facilities the students can be proud of and the district has a responsibility to maintain these facilities. I know this was a large investment in athletics, but to maintain a viable program you must maintain the facilities.Click for James Villarreal's responseJames Villarreal:It is my understanding there was a great need to become compliant with the American Disabilities Act at all WISD venues. This bond helped bring those venues up to standards.13b) What is your opinion of the 2010 Proposition Two bond referendum? This bond totaled $5,945,000 and was used for campus renovations to 11 of the district's 13 school facilities. The impact on the property tax rate was 2.5 cents. This bond passed by a margin of 750 votes: 1,372 FOR and 622 AGAINST.Click for Matt Authier's responseMatt Authier:Having done my research on the state of the district at this time, this portion of the bond was necessary to update, secure, and better equip nearly every campus in our district. These tax dollars had a direct and daily impact on nearly every educator and student in WISD and that should always be the focus when we ask for increased funding from our tax base. I am for a bond that will positively impact every student and educator.Click for Gary Fox's responseGary Fox:Both propositions were studied intently by the board and our administration at the time. We put it to the people for a vote, because we wanted to do what the voters wanted. We then went to work to get their wishes done.Click for Joe Langley's responseJoe Langley:I think the improvements included in the second proposition should have been done with fund balance monies.Click for Shannon Moyers' responseShannon Moyers:I think it shows the priorities of the district that $22,175,000 was asked for athletics, while only $5,945,000 was utilized for schools. More students are NOT in athletics, yet we spend less money to educate the students. Sports and extracurricular activities are important to a well- rounded student, but if we want to call Waxahachie an "educational destination," we must put the focus back on academics. In our quest for a well-rounded student, we have swung the pendulum away from academics.Click for Clay Schoolfield's responseClay Schoolfield:These bonds were voted on and approved by voters. The board's fiduciary responsibility charges them with allocating the dollars approved and completing the projects that were voted on. In a district that is experiencing growth spending on infrastructure is going to take place. The margin of victory or defeat of a bond is irrelevant, the board is charged to meet the people's wishes. I encourage people to vote so that they can be heard!Click for Theresa Smithey's responseTheresa Smithey:In 2010, I supported Proposition two because this section of the bond mainly went towards security improvement for many of the campuses. Before the facility improvements were made to the school entrances, visitors were not directed to enter the office to check in as we are now. It was possible to enter each of my children’s schools without checking into the office. The painting and repairs that were included in this bond were necessary maintenance for the upkeep of our schools.Click for James Villarreal's responseJames Villarreal:The district wide renovations, improvements to technology and security were very much needed. The upkeep to our buildings is an investment and is vital when it comes to educating our students in a safe environment.14) What is your opinion on the $125 million bond referendum the WISD board members recently called that will result in a property tax increase of 12.5 cents per $100 of assessed value if passed by voters? Are you for or against the bond and what are the reasons behind your position?Click for Matt Authier's responseMatt Authier:I am for the public having a voice on the bond package as presented. As a member of the Long Range Planning Committee, I take ownership in the package being presented to the community. My reasoning for voting yes to present it to the community, was due to current facilities being overcrowded, added to that the age of the current high school (approaching 50 years), compiled with 5 year growth projections. With the construction of a new high school, three campuses are opened up for students: the 9th grade center becomes a third junior high, and Wilemon and Turner are available for two additional elementary campuses.With current enrollment numbers, compiled with 5-10 year growth projections, we knew we would need to significantly renovate the current high school campus (at a likely cost of $60MM plus), add an additional elementary campus (~$15MM) to alleviate pressure of growth, and a third junior high (~$40MM). The scenario I just mentioned had a price tag nearly approaching that of the current bond, at $125MM. I am not for spending tax dollars and raising taxes for the sake of doing so. This plan allows for the best use of facilities, with the fewest construction projects needed in the next 5-10 years.Facilities are important to providing the technical, scientific and communal resources in which to study, educate and communicate. However, how and what the students are taught and the opportunities they are given should always be our highest priority. As the only finance professional on the WISD Board of Trustees, I will make sure to be your representative that watches that your tax dollars are spent where you believe they are needed most. I would be honored to have your vote.Click for Gary Fox's responseGary Fox:I have spent countless hours at home looking at the bond information. I have watched the videos of the Long Range Planning Committee meetings. I have stayed up way into the night, many nights, studying all the points and reviewing all the information provided to me. I said in a previous board meeting that the people of this district should have the opportunity to vote on this. It is a very important decision that will impact every citizen in WISD. Each person has the right to express their opinion, and we do that by voting. Read everything you can to educate yourself about the bond, then show up on May 9th and vote your heart.Click for Joe Langley's responseJoe Langley:If the administration meets the burden of proof that they will wisely utilize fiscal responsibility in spending the monies, I favor the bond. It is the most cost effective way to address our student growth. If we don't provide the building space now, it will cost us more in the future. I do want to see specifics of the cost breakdowns and I want to make certain that taxpayers get what they were promised.Click for Shannon Moyers' responseShannon Moyers:I'm aware that most candidates are choosing to give the politically correct answer to this question, stating the bond needs to go before the public for a vote. I totally agree that the community needs to educate themselves on the bond measures and vote as they see fit. I will give further detail, in the fact that while I'm all for growth and the necessity of calling a bond referendum, I am AGAINST THIS bond.Many feel that a vote against this bond is a vote against education and our children's futures. Nothing could be further from the truth. I feel that there are so many options that have not been explored. Is $118 million for a new high school the best utilization of taxpayer's money? The $125 million bond is not organized for greatest effective use of existing facilities. As school board trustees, it is our responsibility to be fiscally responsible with tax dollars while safeguarding our children's educational futures.Click for Clay Schoolfield's responseClay Schoolfield:I have spent a lot of time and thought on this issue, I feel that the cost of waiting is exponential. One needs to look no further than our current high school. When I graduated from WHS in 1987 the district could have purchased property adjacent to the school for expansion. It was not done and now WISD is stuck. The cost of waiting is now very evident in a school that is landlocked and has limited ingress and egress and no room for further expansion. I want to see the district build a high school in an area and with a construction plan that we can grow into. By this I mean that a school that will house our short term needs for students with the placement and ability to be expanded as dictated by growth. If we provide a great educational system for our children this community will experience positive growth that will lessen the tax burden on us as individuals as the expense is shared. On the other side of the coin if we don't plan our growth we become a slave to our finances.Click for Theresa Smithey's responseTheresa Smithey:I think the bond election is a step in the right direction. With proper allocations of funds, the district can build a state-of-the-art high school and update the resources and technology across all campuses. I do realize that this is a large bond, but when visiting the high school you soon realize we have out grown the facility. It is also a challenge for those students who have to cross the busy street, Indian Drive, to get to classes, band or athletics. The new location would give Waxahachie a high school in a safer location with safer accessibility.Click for James Villarreal's responseJames Villarreal:As a product of Waxahachie I love the small hometown feel. Unfortunately, the writing is on the wall and we are growing. I am for the future of WISD students and support providing a SAFE, SUITABLE learning environment. I have walked the halls during class exchange at our schools and have seen the overcrowding. I, like many others, do not like when my taxes are raised, yet we have to ask ourselves what is BEST for our students at WISD.I would like to continue to educate myself and examine the numbers and proposals presented. This is a MAJOR decision and I want to be reassured and assure the community that there is strict ACCOUNTABILITY in regards to financial decisions within the district. I think the need to have a tight-fisted hand on every check that is written is important. An oversight system in place, while maintaining financial transparency and trust is CRUCIAL. I truly believe Waxahachie is the BEST community in the DFW Metroplex, and providing SAFE and SUITABLE facilities is a reflection of our hometown.15) Is there any additional information that you feel voters should know about you?Click for Matt Authier's responseMatt Authier:We need people with professional experience in the financial arena on our school board. I am able to immediately understand, without months of coaching, financial statements and the impact financial decisions have on our community and tax dollars. I have and continue to do this for a living and have been successful in the financial sector.I look forward to working with fellow board members and assisting our superintendent in addressing the challenges public schools face in today’s environment. I would be honored to have your vote.For more information related to my campaign, please visit www.mattforwisd.com or on Facebook at Matt Authier for WISD School Board. My campaign treasurer is Dr. Mackey Morgan.Click for Gary Fox's responseGary Fox:Thank you for allowing me to serve on the WISD School Board. I always try to represent all the people of this district to the best of my ability. This is not something I take lightly. I seriously want to do what is best for everyone. I am asking for your vote to re-elect me, Gary Fox, to the Waxahachie Independent School Board of Trustees.Click for Joe Langley's responseJoe Langley:(Nothing added.)Click for Shannon Moyers' responseShannon Moyers:I would be honored to have your vote for Waxahachie ISD school board trustee. I pledge that I will serve the community to the best of my ability. I look forward to all that the future holds for our great town of Waxahachie.Click for Clay Schoolfield's responseClay Schoolfield:This is a very important time for WISD. I am the only candidate with experience in business, education and construction. I understand that the citizens of the district are divided on the current bond proposal. The passage or failure of this bond will be decided by May 9th by the voters. We need a board in place that can manage the taxpayers dollars wisely and I am prepared to do just that regardless of the status of the current bond proposal.Click for Theresa Smithey's responseTheresa Smithey:I made the decision to teach to have more time with my family and also share my love of the sciences with my students. As a result, I made the decision to leave Mary Kay Corporation. I have excelled in teaching at the high school level. I have been named Teacher of the Year at Ennis High school and have also earned the Mirabeau B. Lamar Award for teaching excellence from the Masons. I am a hard working individual that is not afraid to ask the difficult questions and do what is best for the district. The children should be our focus. They are our future.I truly appreciate my husband, family, Treasurer John Rodgers and all those who are supporting and helping me during this process.For more information visit: http://tsmitheyforwisdschoolboard.weebly.com/.Click for James Villarreal's responseJames Villarreal:If elected I would like to assure that EVERY student is equipped with the strongest educational foundation necessary to succeed in the workplace or in their college careers. 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