The Lewisville Texan Journal sent a list of questions to Lewisville ISD school board candidates to familiarize voters with each potential trustee. Each candidate had two weeks to return their answers. Answers from candidates who participated are published as received, unedited.
Early voting for the May election begins April 24 and continues until May 2. Election day is May 6. Voters will decide who will be the city council members, who will serve on the school board of trustees, and whether or not to accept a bond package proposal from LISD.
Here are the responses sent to us from Peter Rabner, 38, who is running for Place 6.
LTJ: How much of your time on average per week are you committed to giving voters for this position?
PR: I plan on spending 5-10 weekly, serving as a Trustee
LTJ: How have you served the school district prior to filing?
PR: I have actively support grade level end of year parties at my children’s school by providing refreshments for the whole grade.
LTJ: How do you plan to interface with the public if you are elected? To what extent would you let public input affect your decisions as a board member?
PR: I’ll be available via email by responding to to them or to set up phone calls or meetings. I’ll attend events and support the schools the best I can. I will listen to the public and greatly consider their feed back, for I’m to represent their view and not solely mine. I will try to follow the vie of the general public the best I can within my moral parameters.
LTJ: What do you want to do as a board member that you could not do as a dedicated resident?
PR: Get the district out of debt and keep them out. This will ultimately lower taxes significantly for generations to come.
LTJ: Do you think the district is doing enough to provide transparency in decision-making and accountability to the public? What would you change, if anything?
PR: I think the district campaigns and provides the information it wants to sway the public there direction it desires. I don’t believe their is enough transparency is many key decisions and greater accountability is required to the public. More un-biased information needs to be provided and pro’s and con’s need to be discussed and informed to the public about key decisions.
LTJ: What is the most pressing issue facing the district? What steps would you take to amend said issue?
PR: The most pressing issue is $1.2 Billion of debt. The district continues to borrow money from future generations to pay for today’s wants. I believe that by adjusting our spending habits and adjusting tax rates, we can pay off the current debt and cash flow (pay cash) for over $1 Billion in improvements by 2030 when the current debt is planned to be paid off. Taxes would begin to decrease as we approach the end of paying off the debt and once the debt was paid off, significant tax decreases would occur and taxes would be maintained at rates 1/3 the current rate.
LTJ: If you could point to any particular policy, project or direction in the district’s past history that you could go back in time and undo, what would it be?
PR: Their continual issuing of bonds. If the district could have learned how to properly spend and improve campus, decades ago, hundreds of millions of dollars of interest would have been saved and tax rates would not have to be a high as they are today. We need to break the cycle for future generations.
LTJ: The current board has accepted a decision to not rebuild Hedrick Elementary and approved sending that decision to the voters in the bond election. Yet LISD has said it will not tell voters where those students will go until later. Do you think this provides an adequate level of transparency, and do you think, as a board member, you would be willing to reexamine those plans?
PR: This is not an adequate level of transparency and I would not move forward without additional information. If the decision to remove a school is to made, the fallout must be considered and planned for. You cannot just say, we’re closing this school in the next few years and will then decided what to do with the students. You need to look at what this will do to the surrounding schools. Are they going to be over their capacity? Based upon the limited information provided by the district, it appears that of the 6 closest schools; 1 is currently over capacity, 2 will become over capacity, and 2 will be at 92% and 97% capacity (this is without taking in consideration of typical annual growth at each school).
LTJ: The voters are poised to grant this district three quarters of a billion in bond money for construction projects and tech purchases in the district. How do you as a board member ensure accountability for staying true to the district’s needs and maintaining good stewardship of that money?
PR: I do not agree with this bond. There maybe improvements that are needed, but we cannot afford this large of a bond. Why is it considered responsible to borrow and spend money over 5 years and take 20 years to pay it off. We are still paying off the 2005 bond (until 2025 at least) and the 2008 (until 2030). Will the district need more money in 5-8 years? The Facility Advisory Committee stated that it did not look at needs beyond 5 years. How is this responsible? I believe that future improvements should only be built as they can be paid for within the following year (1 year pay back, not 20 years). I believe that this is possible but the current board is afraid to ask the public to sacrifice now for a better tomorrow.
LTJ: A recent court case has shone a light on LISD’s duties to protect students against sexual assault, harassment, bullying and retaliation. Though LISD was not found liable for retaliation, that case has shaken the faith of many in LISD’s ability to take allegations seriously and protect student victims of crime from their assailants. As a board member, what would you do to ensure that staff react appropriately? How would you assure parents that their children are safe in Lewisville ISD?
PR: It appears that the district needs to train/remind the staff of the proper procedure to handle such cases. Clearly written procedures and methods need to be established and frequently reviewed and updated to provide the proper training to staff to handle these delicate and sensitive issues.