Johnnie Williams, seven-year bus driver for the Killeen Independent School District, stood for hours in front of school board candidates Thursday night for a second time this week displaying a sign advocating for better treatment.
He was among about 30 residents who attended a forum that featured candidates for the Killeen ISD school board at the Killeen Community Center. The forum was sponsored by LULAC Herenica Council 4297, Killeen Stars and Stripes Exchange Club and Bell County League of Women Voters.
Questions that ranged from the voter-approved $426 million bond program, infrastructure around schools, employee compensation and more were submitted on index cards by the event attendees, and each question was asked of the entire panel.
All of the eight candidates for the May 4 election Monday night spoke as part of the panel. Running for Place 1 are candidates Lan Carter and incumbent Shelley Wells. Seeking the Place 2 seat are Rev. David Michael Jones and incumbent Susan Jones, and running for Place 3 are Stanley Golaboff, Robert People, incumbent Corbett Lawler. Incumbent Brett Williams is running unopposed for Place 5.
Williams, who attended a candidate forum held by the Killeen Daily Herald Monday night, said he will follow the board candidates wherever they go.
“They’re short of bus drivers,” he said, commenting on KISD’s bus driver vacancies that have been as high as 80 in the past year. “I think that if we get a raise in pay, it will keep bus drivers, and it will bring more bus drivers in.”
Currently, starting bus drivers for KISD make about $14 per hour, according to the district.
Williams says that should be at least $3 higher, and that drivers should be “paid a livable wage.”
West Ward Elementary School Teacher Wayne Moore has been with the district for nearly 35 years, and said he is ready for change.
“This is my community, and I think there are some changes that need to happen, such as teacher pay and discipline in classrooms,” Moore said.
Resident and mother of three Angela Garvin could be seen speaking with board candidates during a break and after the forum.
“I want change,” Garvin said to the Herald. “There’s a lot of long-term people up for election. They’ve been here for almost 20 years, and what have they done?”
Garvin called for a greater sense of transparency between parents and board members, claiming the board members do not align with her views on a variety of subjects, including special education.
“I don’t think any of them speak for me,” Garvin said. “Even though I’ve gone to workshops and board meetings, they’ve never asked my opinion. There’s no back-and-forth conversation. We need to change that.”