Meet The Candidates: Argyle ISD

Early voting begins on April 29 for the May 11 municipal and school board elections across southern Denton County.  The Cross Timbers Gazette asked each candidate in a contested race to answer a short questionnaire to help you make an informed decision at the polls.  Here are their responses:

A total of five candidates filed for two at-large seats in the Argyle ISD.

The three-year terms of Trustee Steven Moore and the unoccupied seat of former school board member Brenda Alexander are up this May.

Along with Moore seeking another term, new faces include Greg Aune, Steve Merka, Brian Ratcliff and Brian Kanzaki.

Greg Aune

Age: 52, Married to Karen Aune, with four children: Austin (19), Turner (14) Chad (12) Carrie (9)

City/Town of Residence: Argyle since 2007

Current Occupation: Owner, GA Sports Management, Inc.

Education: University of Texas at Austin 1983, Marketing and Management Degree

To what civic and religious organizations do you belong? Argyle United Methodist Church

Why should you be elected? Argyle has many great families and attributes that attracted my family to live here.  The values of this community are important.   Therefore, maintaining them and always striving to improve are the main reasons I am running for the AISD school board.  My values and passion to make our district the best in Texas for all the kids is the driving force behind me seeking a seat on the school board.  I have four children who have/are attending all four campuses of Argyle and would like to see this district ranked number 1 in the State of Texas for education.

What are the main challenges facing your town and how would you resolve them? Argyle has many challenges ahead.  Finance of the district and technology are two areas that are in the forefront.  How we deal with these issues now will set our district for years to come.  It will be important to work closely with all the resources of the Town of Argyle to maximize the revenue and growth through different avenues.  There are many districts that are dealing with the same issues we are encountering (Robin Hood tax, low corporate taxes and extremely motivated families) and there are successful solutions that are already being utilized today in existing schools. The state of Texas will not fix our financial problem and we as a community must find alternatives to creating the best education for ALL the students in Argyle. With the changes of technology utilization in the classroom the board and administrators must provide a safe and secure system to students and teachers while providing access to the students who do not have smartphones or computers for everyday use. Technology has many fingers and needs to have a clear policy on what is the proper use and conduct of such devices and needs to be clearly communicated to all teachers, parents and students. The only way we get to be the best is through the team work of everyone in Argyle. There are hard decisions that must be made in the next few years that will affect our schools and district and I will face them with diligence, integrity and accountability to all the families within the Argyle ISD. Everyone must be given the tools to succeed but also must be held to high standard of ethics, accountability and integrity in order for our district to face the problems ahead.

Brian Kanzaki

Age: 18

City/Town of Residence: Argyle

Current Occupation: Student

Education: High School

To what civic and religious organizations do you belong? Boy Scouts of America (Eagle Scout)

Why should you be elected? I believe that I would bring a unique perspective to the school board, as someone who has been in the Argyle school system from grades K-12 and understands the needs of the district intimately, from the inside the school program. I have many ideas that will better the school in the areas of education, health, and resource efficiency.

What are the main challenges facing your district and how would you resolve them? The Argyle schools are best know for the across the board high quality of the educational program. Many ideas on my platform would strengthen that program. One of many of my plans is to reform the foreign language program to one that gives students a greater chance of learning a second language early on, which will help prepare them for real world situations, and has been proven to help in other academic areas as well. Health is one of the most important subjects on my agenda. I want to reform the school lunch program to more of a whole foods and plant based items. I also plan to implement a health education course over how food affects your body and explaining good diet and exercise options. Reduce, reuse, and recycle are words that everyone should live by. I want to make a push towards Argyle being a more energy and resource efficient school district and community.

Steve Merka

Age: 45

City/Town of Residence: Argyle

Current Occupation: Operations Manager, Sullivan Whitetail Ranch

Education: BS, Stephen F Austin State University

To what civic and religious organizations do you belong? Argyle United Methodist Church

Why should you be elected? I believe that I if I am elected to the Argyle School Board I would be able to utilize my 20 years in education to help shape both current and future decisions that will positively affect the Argyle Independent School District.  I will be able to use my experience as a school administrator, teacher, and coach to bring new insight to the decision making process of the school board.  I have lived in Argyle for over 8 years and have two children that have graduated from AISD and a child that is currently a fifth grade student at AIS.  I have had the opportunity to watch my children experience the highs and lows of AISD extra-curricular activities.  I believe that these experiences are important for the kids of the community and can serve as a sense of pride for the school and community.   I look forward to collaborating with current and new board members and working to make Argyle one of the best districts in the state.

What are the main challenges facing your district and how would you resolve them? In order to be fair I would need more than 200 words to explain my thoughts on the challenges of both the town and school district.  I do believe that budget and growth are two of the most glaring challenges that we currently face.  I look forward to discussing these topics and others at the right time and place.

Steven Moore (I)

Age: 50

City/Town of Residence: Bartonville

Current Occupation: Crew Supervisor, Oncor Electric Delivery

Education: Some college, no degree. Four years technical training.

To what civic and religious organizations do you belong? Member of West Main Church of Christ Lewisville

Why should you be re-elected? My experience thru service on the board. My common sense approach to the issues faced by our district.

What are the main challenges facing your district and how would you resolve them? 1. The districts financial state. 2. Attracting and retaining great staff. If we can maintain these when growth is slow, we will be better prepared when growth returns. 3. Finding solutions for campuses that become overcrowded. We as a board have committees in place to help find solutions to some of these challenges.

Brian Ratcliff

Age: 40

City/Town of Residence: Argyle

Current Occupation: Co-owner and Vice President at Entegral Solutions

Education: BS in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M

To what civic and religious organizations do you belong? Committee for Argyle Young Life, Board of Directors for Canyon Falls Municipal Utility District

Why should you be elected? We moved to Argyle for the small community and the schools; I wanted to give my kids a similar experience to what I had growing up. We made a great decision, and I want to be a part of keeping it great. Throughout my career, and now as a small business owner, I have worked with schools and have a good handle on the challenges administrators and boards have with school finance and facilities. With that, my desire is to serve with no agendas and no motive other than to listen and provide whatever insight I have that is relevant.

What are the main challenges facing your district and how would you resolve them? The biggest challenges besides the known, and common, budget issues are the growth coming in the near term and school security. Canyon Falls and Harvest are now a reality, bringing thousands of homes into AISD over the next 10 years or so. The influx of kids will not be immediate, but they may come before we have the new facilities available for them.  Now is a critical time in Argyle ISD’s growth, as we need to work closely with the town of Argyle to bring the right amount of commercial development to increase the tax base and provide needed funding for facilities and other infrastructure. In terms of school security, I want to make sure we address it appropriately and reasonably. If we do this right, AISD will stay strong and remain a coveted place to send our kids to school.

Address of your candidate website and/or Facebook page:

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