My Case for Katy ISD School Board, Position 1
I am a candidate for Katy ISD School Board, Position 1. I bring a new voice, a new perspective, and a new set of eyes to the position. My wife Karen and I raised our three children in Katy ISD from K-12. Some may consider me to be a new name, perhaps an outsider. I view this as a positive thing. I bring fresh insight and a resolve to ask the difficult questions but am also committed to work collaboratively with the board and the superintendent.
I am retired from a career as CFO for public oilfield services companies, and previously as a commercial banker. Karen and I have been married for 47 years and have always been involved in the community. Recently we decided that it was time to take it to the next level now that I have the time. I want to make a difference in the community and in the lives of our grandchildren. We have four grandchildren in Katy.
We are very involved in their lives and can understand and appreciate the day-to-day challenges of families raising kids today. The only motivation I have for running for public office is for the good of all children in Katy. I’ve never had any political ambition and have no agenda or motivation other than to contribute to the well-being and quality of education of the children in Katy ISD.
As a Cuban refugee who came to the U.S at the age of seven with my parents and brother, I have a big love for this country. It has been good to me and given me many opportunities. I have many memories of wonderful teachers along the way that made an impact on me. I particularly recall Mrs. Jenkins, who was my third-grade teacher when I had just arrived from Cuba. I was the first Spanish speaker in the class. I did not speak any English. She was patient and made me feel welcome. She was an excellent teacher who gave me a great introduction into the public school system.
After growing up in the Miami area, I was blessed to attend Virginia Tech on a football scholarship, where I received an Economics degree. I also received an MBA in Finance from University of Texas, Arlington. I believe my work and educational experience in financial analysis, budgets, and credit markets would be a benefit to the Katy ISD board. I also have experience with both public company boards and non-profit boards. I am a former board member of the West Houston Pregnancy Help Center in Katy and a founding and current board member of the Houston Coalition for Life.
I think the role of a Katy ISD Board of Trustee member is a very serious one. The board has a fiduciary duty to protect the resources of the district entrusted to it by the taxpayers and to ensure those resources are used wisely and efficiently. The board has oversight over the management of the district. This means oversight over the superintendent. Ultimately, the board is responsible for delivering a quality educational product for all children in the community, and to be accountable to the different stakeholders – parents, taxpayers, students, teachers, and all district employees.
As a non-paid role, a board member must have passion, that comes from a sense of service for the children and the community. As a trustee (emphasis on Trust) a board member should be someone of high integrity and moral character – someone whose motivations and intentions are pure and without question. I have no economic interest, direct or indirect, in any business in the Katy/Houston area.
I believe the role of a board member is much more than approving contracts for purchases and construction of facilities and perusing of financial statements and budgets. Over the past decade, social changes and pressures have made the role of educators and board members more complex. More than ever, teachers, parents, and administrators need to work together in partnership for the good of the children. Parents are concerned about being excluded. Parents more than ever want their role in the education of their children to be recognized.
After all, students are the parents’ children first, and students second. Adding to this complexity is the intent by some to bring social change and agendas into the classroom. This can sometimes create conflict between parents and educators. Parents want to know what their children are learning or not learning. The focus needs to be on basic education, not on social engineering or agendas.
As a board member my main priorities are to get back to basics and focus on the quality of education – what the kids need to succeed in the future. To me this means emphasizing the academics regardless of ability and interest. This means an emphasis on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) and also History and English. Also, we need focus on improving the underperforming schools and underperforming segments of our student population. We need robust funding for Special Education as well as the Miller Career Center and to provide good opportunities for our students to learn trades.
Next, we must increase support of our teachers. Our teachers need better pay. They are paid less, on average, than teachers in surrounding districts. The superintendent, the District CFO, and the board need to work together to prioritize funding for the front-line teachers and front-line support staff. We need to retain our teachers and improve their morale. District administrators should be laser focused on supporting campus leaders and teachers who deal with students every day, not loading them up with paperwork.
Finally, we need to protect our children from harmful material, from identity politics, and divisive ideologies. We should not be sexualizing our children at an early age. Let our children be children. The parents have the role of teaching their children about morals and values, not the schools. The TEA recently issued updated guidelines to be followed by school districts for the purchase and removal of school library materials. The model puts the responsibility for library purchases squarely on the board and provides for a review period by parents. The policy recognizes the parents’ essential role in the education of their children. I urge the Katy ISD board and superintendent to seriously consider this new model policy which empowers parents and protects children. I believe our existing board has been too complacent on this matter.
This is a crucial election. Our teachers and students depend on it. Unfortunately, voter turnout for board elections is very low compared to the population of our district. I need your help. Early voting begins Monday April 25-Mary 3rd. Election Day is May 7th. Let’s do this Katy, for our children and for our future!
Publishers Note– Katy Christian Magazine and Fort Bend Christian Magazine has endorsed Vic Perez for Katy ISD, Position 1. We strongly encourage our readers to support Vic and to help make lasting change in Katy ISD.
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