From the Desk - November 2017

From The Desk of Rick DeMasters November 2017 Over the past year, my monthly reflections have followed a similar theme that revolves around growth.  It’s not a secret and whether we love it or hate it, the reality is that our city and our district will be dealing with this matter for many, many years to come.  There are positive and negative aspects when dealing with growth. The positives include economic growth, the development of new jobs/positions, and creating partnerships between businesses and the district to give our students opportunities that we have never had the ability to provide.  On the flip side, the negatives can include pollution, overcrowding, ongoing construction, and the possibility of change to traditions and the small town life as we have come to know.

Over the past several years, Celina ISD has been gathering data from neighboring school districts to help us better plan for the future.  From what worked well to what not to do gives us an advantage during our strategic sessions as we continue to map out the timeline that will shape our district for the years to come. During these sessions, the bottom line always comes down to money.  No school district has at their disposal the funds needed to construct buildings and/or improve existing facilities. This is a process that takes many years to bring to fruition. On top of our facility needs, the state continues to cut funding, which forces districts to sever opportunities for students and faculty in order to allocate money where it will have the most impact.  

Last month, a charge was sent from the Texas Association of School Boards to every school district in the State of Texas to create a culture of voting. TASB’s belief is that changes need to be made in Austin and these changes will come through exercising one’s right to vote. The Celina School Board signed a resolution that our district would support a culture of voting and would encourage participation by not only our District employees, but eligible students as well.  By voting, we decide how much to fund education, how much attention should be spent on standardized testing, and/or how much support for growth is needed through bond elections.

For those that don’t believe they can make a difference, let me share with you an example of a situation that recently happened to a school district in Texas.  The district finds itself on the cusp of growth, surrounded by aging facilities and overcrowded campuses. A bond election was called that would include the construction of multiple campuses, technology upgrades and improvements to athletic and existing facilities.  After the election results were tabulated, the bond failed by less than 100 votes. What made it more disappointing was that over 40% of the district employees did not vote, which would have made a huge difference in the outcome of the election.  This is just one example of why TASB charged districts across our state to cultivate a culture of voting by asking district employees and students to lead the charge and help propel Texas out of last place in regards to voter turnout.

The example shared above resonates with me because the bond package includes many of the same needs that can be attributed to our district.  In the near future, our community will be asked to support a bond that will be designed with our students in mind and their needs for the future. In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Those who stay away from the election that think one vote will do no good. ‘Tis but one step more to think one vote will do no harm.”