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Two incumbents facing opposition for CCISD School Board

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Two incumbents on the Copperas Cove Independent School District will face opposition.

Place 5 incumbent Bob Weiss will face off against Jeff Gorres for a term that expires in November 2019.

Gorres has students in elementary, junior high and high school at Copperas Cove Independent School District. He served 26 years in the Army, with 22 of those years in the Copperas Cove area. Gorres has been active in the PTA, strategic planning, booster clubs, and has 10 years of experience on various committees. He has 20 years of administrative experience.

Weiss has lived in Copperas Cove since 1963 and was employed by CCISD for 36 years. He has both a bachelor and a master of education degrees, including an additional 15 hours of post graduate work. Weiss served in the 49th Armor Division Texas National Guard.

In Place 6, incumbent Jim Copeland will face challenger John Gallen for a three-year term.

Gallen is a 66-year-old retired military officer and public education teacher. He is married with four children, all graduates of Copperas Cove school system and six grandchildren, four of whom are in Cove schools. He have served on the Copperas Cove City Council and various boards in the city. He is a lifetime member of the Friends of the Copperas Cove Library, currently its president.

Copeland served 27.5 years in the Air Force and taught 12 years at Copperas Cove. He spent five years in CCISD school administration, served the City of Copperas Cove for 15 years on the appraisal board, was a Copperas Cove City Council member for three terms, and is serving his 18th year as a CCISD board member.

Dr. Karen Harrison is running unopposed in Place 7. She is a physician with Baylor Scott & White in Copperas Cove, and an adjunct assistant professor in the Texas A&M College of Medicine.

Place 5

QUESTION: The district appears to be in a good financial position. What will you do to continue this trend?

Gorres: Through prudent and necessary funding of operating requirements. Prioritizing funding requests and equitable allocations of limited resources.

Weiss: Part of the budget process should always include the evaluation of current programs. As a school principal for 26 years, I have had experience working with campus staff in developing budgets with limited funds. As a board member for 12 years, I have had experience developing budgets at the district level. I will use these experiences to make evaluations and suggestions during the district budgeting process. Despite the loss of $12 million in impact aid over the next three years, I will always be cognizant of the importance in keeping the district financially sound.

QUESTION: Students numbers are up in the district. Do you see the district building another campus/building in the coming years, and if so, where?

Gorres: Yes, especially as we continue to attract more families with school age children. Would more than likely have to be north of the existing House Creek Elementary School, considering the future growth and development of the city. With any major construction environmental impact and feasibility study would weigh a part in the decision as well as developer, city commitments.

Weiss: Student enrollment has increased slightly; however, there is still room at Fairview/Jewel to accommodate additional classrooms. Our enrollment fluctuates with the number of troops assigned to Ft. Hood. If the enrollment continues to increase, there will be a need for additional classrooms. If the solution is to build a new school to prevent overcrowding, the location will be dependent upon the area of new housing developments. The district regularly maintains contact with builders, realtors, Ft. Hood, and the city to stay abreast of the demographics that affect future student enrollment.

QUESTION: What strengths will you bring to the school board?

Gorres: I am a father of four children attending Copperas Cove High School, junior high, and elementary schools, actively involved as district volunteer and committee member since 2007. Currently I am a financial analyst and program manager responsible for executive compliance. With over a decade of serving senior executive staff agencies ensuring compliance with complex statuary and policy requirements, as well as over 20-plus years of managing budgets and contracts, I will bring an eye for detail and drive for efficiency resulting in better resource usage. As an active member of several volunteer organizations or committees understand that we serve for the common purpose and goal — for the people we serve.

Weiss: I have a bachelor of science in education, a master of education, post graduate hours for certification in school administration, and additional post-graduate hours. My work experience includes 10 years teaching elementary, junior high, and high school. I was a principal on 5th- 6th grade campuses for 26 years. From 2003-2015, I served on the CCISD school board. I was honored to have been selected by the board to serve as secretary or vice-president during some of those years. I have served and am currently serving on the Coryell Central Appraisal District Board. In the past, I have held the offices of secretary and chairperson of that board. Through membership and offices held in a variety of other organizations, I have had experience working with different points of views in order to achieve common goals.

Place 6

QUESTION: The district appears to be in a good financial position. What will you do to continue this trend?

Copeland: I will vote to continue the same positive financial leadership that this school district has enjoyed in the past and will continue to look at future needs and growth. The CCISD board has placed into policy and action agreement — as a team — on what we need to support and how to best use funds appropriated for this district. We work as a team not individuals in making these decisions.

Gallen: I would continue to support the financial practices of the district and be a good steward of the tax payers money. I would try to assist the superintendent in the fight for impact aid. Additionally, I would try to work with state legislators to get the school finance issue at the state level on track to benefit school districts in the state and the taxpayers of the state.

QUESTION: Students numbers are up in the district. Do you see the district building another campus/building in the coming years, and if so, where?

Copeland: The CCISD School board has put into action the refurbishing of the Fairview Elementary School campus. This will take care of the continuing growth at the present time. The forward acting team has always determined when a new facility is required and met the needs as they appear, i.e. the construction of the new House Creek Elementary campus, which was built without incurring debt. In 2018 our district will be 80 percent debt free and totally without any debt in 2025, and will be able to take on another facility without raising taxes. Again the team works together to determine needs prior to becoming an emergency and works together to find solutions that are determined by needs, which will determine future sites for facilities.

Gallen: With all the growth north of Copperas Cove in the House Creek area off of Highway 116, I foresee the building of another elementary school in the future to accommodate growth of the school district. It would probably be located in the area where that development is taking place.

QUESTION: What strengths will you bring to the school board?

Copeland: I have served 18 years on the CCISD school board, I know the board members and work well with them as a team member. I spend time with the students and know their needs as well as from the perspective of a board member. This successful team has been together for over 10 years and we compliment the knowledge of the team members with our strengths. I can’t stress enough that this successful team has built the most desired school district in Central Texas.

Gallen: I bring a different perspective to the table. As a veteran and Army brat, I understand our military population and their unique issues. As a retired special education teacher, I understand the unique issues of this population and the teacher perspective within public education. I have good problem solving skills and leadership experience through my council years and various organizations of which I am a member. I am a team player and passionate about public education. | 254-501-7464

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