Questions for San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District Board of Trustees Candidates Your Name:________________Paul Mayhew________________________________ 1. What qualifies you to be a school board member? My life experiences and numerous leadership roles have uniquely prepared me to be able to help lead the district as a school board member. My wife, Marilee, and I have four children who attend SMCISD schools: two at Hernandez Elementary, one at Miller Junior High, and one, a freshman at San Marcos High School. There is not another candidate or current board member with children currently in our schools. I will provide fresh ideas and a unique perspective to our board. I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in economics. I have served on city boards and chaired the San Marcos Convention and Visitors Bureau. I was elected and served a term on the San Marcos City Council from 2000-2003. It was on the San Marcos City Council where I gained experience overseeing a $70 million budget, working with others to achieve collaborative goals and working to create a shared vision for our community. I have held other positions of leadership since that time. I am currently the Scoutmaster of Troop 112. I have coached numerous baseball teams in San Marcos. I have been chairman for eight years on the First United Methodist Church committees: finance and Church Council. For 21 years I have lived in San Marcos working as a financial advisor with MetLife, primarily helping educators envision their retirement goals and achieve them. With four children currently enrolled in our schools, Iâ€™ll bring a perspective to the board that no one running or currently on the board can offer. Weâ€™ve been very pleased with the quality of teaching and educational learning experiences in our classrooms. We have experienced excellent teachers, challenging curriculum and very supportive administrative staff in our schools. I strongly believe that there is always room for improvement, but great things are happening in our schools. We must change the narrative and share our successes. While we work to achieve exemplary status, our marketing strategies should highlight positive news happening districtwide. As a board trustee, I will work hard to advocate for all students, teachers, families, and taxpayers of the district.
Questions for San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District Board of Trustees Candidates 2. What is your view of the purpose of public education? Public education is what has helped form and mold me into the person who I am today. I am a product of public education and I entrust my four children to the public education system here in San Marcos. Along with my wife, we are completely invested in public education. Public education is critical for the success and progress of the local community and the state to be able to have an educated society, not just for the demands of a competent workforce for industry and development, but also for an improved quality of life for that person and the community. The purpose of public education is to provide an environment in which all children can be successful. So what does that mean for us? I feel that public education is much more than just those words. Public education is community education. This means that the responsibility for the success of our schools rests on the shoulders of our community. We each have an active role to play in its delivery. We need greater engagement by our community in the delivery of our public education. We need schools where students not only succeed, but are challenged intellectually. Our studentsâ€™ curiosity should be cultivated and honed, as the next generation of leaders learns to think and advocate for themselves and their future. Public education should be designed to help develop student confidence and competence and value the everyday tasks in learning. It should also prepare all children for many choices and give them the tools and attitudes to contribute to our democratic way of life and lead productive lives in a rapidly changing world.
Questions for San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District Board of Trustees Candidates
3. What is your view of the respective roles of the school board, the superintendent, and teachers in the development and selection of classroom curricula, textbooks, and materials? Having the opportunity to serve on City Council and numerous boards, I have often found that when looking at policy and how to get things accomplished, you do not necessarily reinvent the wheel. There are rules that already exist and are in place that highlight how to address this particular question. The best course of action is sometimes to look at what is in place and make sure that all interested parties are fulfilling their respective roles. According to the Texas Legislature, one of the primary duties of the school board is to “ensure that an administrative procedure is provided to clearly define the respective roles and responsibilities of the superintendent, central office staff, principals, teachers, district-level committee members, and campus-level committee members in the areas of planning, budgeting, curriculum, staffing patterns, staff development, and school organization.” Furthermore, the legislature states that “the campus-level committee shall be involved in decisions in the areas of planning, budgeting, curriculum, staffing patterns, staff development, and school organization. The board of trustees must make sure that each campus has a plan for improving performance of all students and they have to approve the district and campus performance goals and objectives to make sure that at a minimum they meet the state standards. The board also “adopts a policy to establish a district- and campus-level planning and decision-making process that will involve the professional staff of the district, parents, and community members in establishing and reviewing the district's and campuses' educational plans, goals, performance objectives, and major classroom instructional programs.” Trustees, the superintendent, principals, and teachers all have roles and responsibilities, but so do community members, business leaders, and parents in the development and review of classroom educational goals, and instructional programs as well as the curriculum needed to achieve them. If the administrative procedures are clearly defined and followed by the board, we will ensure that every student at every campus is given the best possible opportunity and instruction that he or she needs to be successful.
Questions for San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District Board of Trustees Candidates
4. What are your three (3) greatest concerns regarding budgeting issues and why? My number one concern regarding budget issues that that Senate Bill 1 will control $4 billion of funding cuts to Texas public schools during the next biennium. What this means for SMCISD is that we will expect funding reductions of approximately $2.2 million for 2012, and approximately $4 million for 2013. The trustees must be able come together to the table with financial experience and the ability to plan for the future. As trustees, we must do our homework and be prepared to find answers to the hard questions, and find sound solutions to this economic reality. My second concern is that SMCISD will continue to experience budget pressures in the areas of wages and benefits along with increases in utilities, insurance, and fuel. We must address our teacher wages. Our wages must be fair and competitive within our geographic region. We do not need to be a training ground for teachers to gain experience, only to leave for greener pastures and better options down the road, or across the county. We need to be a district to which quality teachers want to commit their talents and careers, because they will know that they will be valued and compensated fairly. We want teachers who will choose to make teaching in San Marcos their career. To address rising costs, we will probably have to look at selling off nonproductive assets or property, which will have the added bonus of returning unused property to the tax rolls. We cannot make decisions based on what is good for the board or the next election, at a cost to the learning capacity of our children. This will bring needed resources to the budget, and will also help increase the tax base as well. A third concern is that, although our debt service requirements for 2012 and later are assumed to be relatively constant, reductions in the district debt service fund tax rate will depend on growth in taxable values. You can increase the taxable values by either inflating existing values or increasing the taxable base with new growth and development. The school district is a very important component in the overall growth and development of our community. The best way we can impact the growth in taxable values is to make sure that we continue to improve our ratings and change the perception of our schools. As mentioned earlier, we can also look at our property that is not being utilized and is not in our master plan, and consider selling that off to put it back to taxable purposes.
Questions for San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District Board of Trustees Candidates 5. We believe that strong principal and teacher performance is important. What recommendations would you have for the administration to improve the principal and teacher performance evaluation process? I also believe that strong principal and teacher performance is important. As a district we are able choose our methods of evaluation. I think whatever method is chosen for the future we should make sure that it is a tool that is fair, but will both identify the strengths as well as the deficiencies of the principals and teachers and provide them with open honest feedback in order for them to improve. I believe that the process should be annual and should be objective with clearly defined goals and measurable outcomes for achievement. The evaluation process should also foster and encourage new ways for teachers and principals to be creative and innovative in their ways to achieve the education goals and vision of the district. I also believe strong school board trustee performance is important. We need measurable outcomes for our trustees as well - and we owe the voters and taxpayers a“report card” on the performance and progress of the board of trustees. We need to define our roles as the voice of the community and report back to the voters on a regular basis about what we have done to ensure the best possible educational system in our community. I believe that asking for your vote and support should not end when the polls close on election day. Communication is key to community support in our schools and I believe that as trustees, we should be communicating with our constituents year around, not just on election cycles. 6. Describe three things you would like to be different in SMCISD three years from now…starting in year one, year two and then year three. Three years is the length of the term for which I am running and so I’d like to answer this by saying what I’d like to see accomplished during that term and not necessarily in years. First, I would like to work with the other trustees, staff, parents, community members, and other stakeholders to identify strong and attainable goals and objectives for our district. I believe that goal-setting is not a process just for participation of seven elected trustees, but rather a shared process of our community. We need to reach out in forums and open meetings, as well as through one-on-one communication for input from all the stakeholders. The goals must be comprehensive and measurable. Once these goals and a shared vision are created, we can
Questions for San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District Board of Trustees Candidates support the Superintendent and the administration as they accomplish them. This is a “best practice” used by other successful school districts to objectively measure and celebrate their progress. Throughout the three year period of my term I want us to look for ways to encourage and promote our schools to reach exemplary status. If this were truly a shared vision and goal and accomplished it would change everything in our community in a positive way. I believe that in the first couple of years we can have three to four elementary schools reach this goal, and by the third year all elementary schools be rated exemplary. It will not be an easy task and it will take the entire community of San Marcos to become engaged in public education in a way that we have not previous experienced. I have confidence that it can be done and it must be done. Finally, I would like to see our entire community challenge and change the perception that our schools are not good, so that by that third year we are boasting of our success, rather than dredging up old failures. For far too long we have allowed others to set the narrative and those who recognize the successes of the schools fail to speak up about them. We need to share our successes. We must do a better job of making sure that we communicate all of the great things that are happening in our district. Indeed, we must continue to make improvement in our ratings through the standardized process in order to prove to others that we truly are exemplary. We must not miss an opportunity at a board meeting or a community function to highlight and brag about something in our district. In current practice, the current board does place an item on its consent agenda that would provide information about successes as they occur. However, if it is not pulled and read the audience in the room does not ever know the details. We don’t want the good news to be read silently and stop with the seven members of the board. We should be shouting these successes by our students and their teachers from the rooftops. At the last board meeting on Monday, April 16, item VI Approval of Consent items, C School Board Sound Bytes was not pulled, but passed unanimously. That is all that people with an agenda in the audience knew about that item. In the interest of making sure that an opportunity is not missed, I would like to share the following information found in the board book; School Board Sound Bytes A. Background: Sound bytes will be provided at each monthly meeting. The Board will approve items listed to be shared throughout the community.
Questions for San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District Board of Trustees Candidates * SMHSâ€™ Logan Nicks and Jenny McGinty qualified to compete in the National Forensic Leagueâ€™s national competition in Indiana in June. * Two HOSA students - Elaine Reiche and Pamela Tovar - advanced to the National competitions to be held in Orlando, Fla. this summer (Health Occupations) * The SMHS UIL Academic Team finished 2nd in the District Championships, and the Speech and Debate Team brought home their 4th consecutive District Championship title. Fourteen students are advancing to the Regional competitions in May. * SMHS senior Allex Austin brought home the high jump Gold medal from the 2012 Texas Relays (also a state championship) * In Tennis - the JV Boys and the Freshmen Boys team were named 2012 District Tennis Champions. Juniors Christian Reyes and Olly Ramos have advanced to the Regionals in San Antonio this week. * In Skills USA state competition, Silvia Mascorro and Katrina Esquival brought home two blue ribbons, two award plaques and the BEST OF SHOW ribbon for their entry in the cake decorating category - the best cake in the state of Texas! Congratulations to all of those students!!! You see, there are great things happening all the time in our district. I would be honored to have your vote and look forward to working for you and with you to make the San Marcos Schools the model that we all know they can be. We must work together to make this happen. And it all begins with your vote. Early voting begins at the Hays County Justice Center on April 30th. And election day is May 12th. (Use as much space as needed to answer each of the questions. Please save your file and email to email@example.com by 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 19th.) Thank you for your participation.