Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Taking Out of Context RISD Candidates For District 1

Community Impact Richardson asked the candidates running for Richardson ISD's District 1 board seat several questions. I want to highlight a few words of their answers that most caught my attention. Excerpts, by their nature, take words out of context. No attempt is being made to twist the meaning of the full answers. Read the full answers at Community Impact Richardson and judge for yourself.

Tony Casagrande: "I am a firm believer in public bonds, as they are a win-win. The district, kids and teachers get great facilities, local businesses get work, and everybody generally wins. This is as long as someone is willing to pay for the bond. Historically, it has to be the citizens through increased taxation."

Whether "someone" is willing to pay for the bond will be determined by the bond election. If a majority vote "yes" then a majority are willing to pay for the bond. According to the RISD, "RISD’s total tax rate is $1.4047 per $100 of taxable assessed value. The tax rate is separated into $1.0547 for maintenance and operations (M&O Tax Rate) and $0.35 for principal and interest payments (I&S Tax Rate) on debt outstanding. The I&S tax rate would not change if Bond 2021 is approved by voters." I&S tax revenues will be sufficient to pay back the 2021 bonds. No M&O tax revenues will be used to pay back the 2021 bonds. The tax rate stays the same. The fact that the ballot language calls a tax rate that stays the same a "tax increase" is the legislature playing word games.

Vicky Suárez: "One of the biggest issues facing Richardson ISD is attracting and retaining highly qualified teachers...As a teacher, I will bring the teacher perspective to the board."

It's not enough that board candidates understand the importance of this issue. I need to hear specific proposals for remedies. I look to board candidates to bring answers to the table. Obviously, it's some combination of pay, facilities and equipment, working conditions, support and respect. But what those are is missing from this answer.

Megan Timme: "With great leadership, our district can continue the charge to be that No. 1 district in the state academically. One of the most important ways to reach that academic success is to recruit the best educators, to provide them with the best training and to retain those teachers in RISD."

Being No. 1 in the state academically sounds like wishful thinking. How realistic is it? Many parents might settle for having RISD's academic ranking quit dropping. Regardless, Timme, like Suárez, puts her finger on recruiting and retaining the best best teachers as being the key to academic success. But, like Suárez, Timme is short on specific methods to achieve this.

Previously we took out of context RISD candidates for Place 7.

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