HARKER HEIGHTS—School board candidates were asked the significance of federal aid and teacher support, but the defense of Killeen Independent School District had some candidates nearly hollering.
The school board candidates had the chance to speak to voters at the Harker Heights Activity Center from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Monday, in which the eight candidates appearing on the May 4 ballot answered three questions by a moderator.
In Place 1, Lan Carter is challenging incumbent Shelley Wells. In Place 2, the Rev. David Michael Jones is facing off against incumbent Susan Jones. In Place 3, incumbent Corbett Lawler faces challengers Stanley Golaboff and Robert People.
Challengers to the incumbents tended to be more critical of the school board’s authority, while those seeking to retain their spots boasted over a number benefits in Killeen ISD.
Some of their answers are as follows:
Lan Carter: “That’s a very touchy subject. Most people go online, do their research and ask other parents, ‘What school district should I put my child in?’ You’ve got Copperas Cove. You’ve got Salado. You’ve got Belton ... What are you looking for? If they’re a special needs parent, you tell them to stay away from KISD. It’s not just me saying that. Many will tell you this area is horrible for special education. It’s a fact. They’ve been out of state compliance for seven years.”
Stanley Golaboff: “Our district is not perfect. We’re OK. OK is great for Pepsi, but it’s not OK for a school district, and we need to do better. Just being average is not good enough. But one of the reasons I would tell prospective residents to move to Killeen over Belton, Copperas Cove and Temple is because we are the 26th largest school district in the state. We’re not as rich as rich as some of Austin or Houston districts, but in this area ... we use those resources wisely and efficiently. Their children are going to get a good education.”
David Michael Jones: “I, too, had my children go to KISD. I could have gone anywhere at the time when I was stationed at Fort Hood. I bought a home. I said, ‘OK, I’m going to stay here for a little while, then I’m moving on.’ ... so 20 years later, I’m still here. Why? Because I like it here. Because the cost of living is better here than it is anywhere else. I’ve passed through Round Rock, I’ve passed through Georgetown, I’ve been over to Austin and Houston, but here is that community of warmth.”
Susan Jones: “I’m a big cheerleader of KISD. KISD offers children offers our children so many options to get an education. At the Early College High School, kids graduate with an associate degree, and their parents don’t have to pay one dime for that associates degree. We have a three-year old program on Fort Hood where if a soldier lives on Fort Hood and they have a 3-year-old and a 4-year-old, they all can go to school together. That’s a pretty darned amazing thing. We have a wonderful school system ... KISD is the bedrock of our community.”
Corbett Lawler: “I would encourage people to come to KISD. The reason I would tell them to come is that the opportunities here are not matched in any other district. We have STEM programs at all of our high schools, and we’re also working with CTC to have students take courses out there, so many of those kids at the senior year of high school will have an associates degree.”
Robert People: “One thing that’s stood out to me is how much KISD has changed since I was here in 2002. It’s grown so much. What’s stood out to me the most when I came back this time in the December of 2015, it looked like a completely different place. If you’re someone who wants to be part of something constantly growing, I would say, yes, this is where you want to be.”
Shelley Wells: “I think that opportunity engenders hope. I would put our school district up against any district in the state of Texas for the things we do for our children. The enrichment activities, and how culturally diverse our school district is, that’s a plus for our students. They graduate from here and work with anyone and anywhere. They learn skills that you don’t learn in a homogenous community.”
Brett Williams: “We’re not handing out participation trophies. You’ve got to compete to get into programs. and I think that’s important ... and I say, ‘Come look at my family.’ I say look at my wife, graduate of Killeen High School who’s a principal in the district who has her master’s degree. I say, ‘Look at my son, who graduated from Killeen High School 40 years after me studying to be an engineer today. ... When you say why KISD, I say because, look at my family, and if that’s OK with you, than this district should be OK with you.”
Early voting in the elections begins April 22 and concludes April 30.
Election day is May 4.