Meet The Candidates: Denton 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:

All three incumbents on the Denton ISD school board have filed to run again, along with two newcomers.

Donna Woodfork, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Denton last year,  is challenging Mia Price’s bid for a fifth term in Place 4.

Charles Stafford will seek his fourth term in Place 5 against Denton resident Prudence Sanchez.

Glenna Harris is running unopposed in Place 3 for her third term.

Denton ISD – Place 4:

Mia Price (I)

Age: 57

City/Town of Residence: Denton

Current Occupation:
Accounts Payable, David W Price MD PA

Education: Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology Louisiana State University

To what civic and religious organizations do you belong?
Denton Benefit League, Denton Noon Kiwanis, Denton Chamber of Commerce, Denton PEO, Texas Medical Association Alliance, Texas Medical Association Committee on Child and Adolescent Health, Denton High School PTSA

Why should you be re-elected?
School districts face many challenges.  Experience, commitment and knowledge are important when difficult decisions must be made.  Denton ISD’s budget was cut $17.5 million dollars and our enrollment continues to grow, yet we continue to build facilities and surpass state averages on accountability ratings.  Additionally, as an accounts payable administrator I understand budget and payroll issues.  I am passionate about our district and meticulously study every page of my packet prior to each board meeting.  I love serving and my priority is to educate our students to be globally competitive and successful as a direct result of their DISD education.

What are the main challenges facing your district and how would you resolve them? Funding, growth, and over-testing are 3 of our biggest challenges.  Even if our budget is fully restored it would still be at 2006 levels in spite of increased costs in utilities, transportation, etc.  We must continue to advocate for adequate funding and we must continue to “do more with less”- energy audits with conservation measures in place; ongoing budget analysis with the focus on the classroom are ongoing measures. Our student population continues to grow by approximately 1000 students per year and much of the growth is in areas where additional facilities are needed.  We must advocate for relief from the 50 cent debt cap and we must explore all avenues for building excellent facilities at the best cost while providing optimum learning environments for our students. Over-testing is a financial burden; a stress on students, families and staff and it takes time away from the classroom.  I think it contributes to teacher burnout and I worry that teachers no longer have the freedom to teach and be creative in their classrooms.  We must be supportive and responsive to our teachers and students and we must continue to work on the legislative front to enact appropriate legislation.

Address of your candidate website and/or Facebook page: [email protected];

Donna Woodfork

Age: 43

City/Town of Residence: Denton

Current Occupation: After school Daycare Teacher

Bachelors of Sociology with a Minor of Psychology; Graduate level courses in Long Term Care Administration and Executive Masters of Business Administration.

To what civic and religious organizations do you belong? Member of the City of Denton Police Citizens Academy Alumni; member of the Denton County Historical Commission; Trained volunteer Logistics and Supply Manager with Denton County Medical Reserve Corps; Producer of local Public Access Cable show since 2005

Why should you be elected?
I have the experience and knowledge necessary to listen to your concerns, develop a win/win for the overall good of our students and staff at Denton ISD.  As the next Board of Trustee in Place 4, of the Denton ISD School Board, I want to decrease the numbers of students dropping out of school, assist in increasing the educational standing and ratings of Denton ISD as compared to other school districts; and improve educational resources and support available to students with learning and physical disabilities.  I cannot win this election without your vote and support.  If you would like to host a fund-raiser, volunteer, purchase a yard sign or provide any other assistance, please call me at 940-735-4822 or send a email to [email protected]

What are the main challenges facing your district and how would you resolve them? No answer given

Denton ISD – Place 5

Prudence Sanchez

Age: 50

City/Town of Residence: Denton

Current Occupation: Attorney

Education: Juris Doctorate Degree

To what civic and religious organizations do you belong? Board Member of Community Partners of Denton County which serves abused and neglected children in Denton County. Member of Texas Lawyers for Children which serves abused and neglected children in Texas.

Why should you be elected? I should be elected because I am concerned for our children’s future.  We must strive to explore effective educational modalities and implement best practices in order continue to promote and ensure educational excellence.  Proper allocation of much needed resources to teachers and students is a must if we are going to provide our children with the educational capabilities needed in twenty-first century and beyond.  We must respect the dignity of every child, open doors to opportunity and build opportunities for a better society through education.

What are the main challenges facing your district and how would you resolve them? The main challenge facing our district is our tremendous growth. Denton Independent School District is one of the fastest growing school districts in North Texas. It is a wonderful challenge that our district is growing; we must collaborate with the community to create the ways and means to accommodate that growth while not sacrificing quality education for our children. Funding public school is a major challenge.  It is important to be open to dialogue and to new ideas for funding the education of our children.

Address of your candidate website and/or Facebook page:

Charles Stafford (I)

Age: 60

City/Town of Residence: Denton

Current Occupation: Real Estate Broker

Education: University of Texas at Austin

To what civic and religious organizations do you belong? The Village Church, Denton campus; Denton Kiwanis; Denton Central Appraisal Dist. Board of Directors; Texas Assn. of School Boards- Board of Directors; Communities in Schools -Board of Directors; Denton Animal Shelter Foundation -Board of Directors; Founding Board President -Denton Education Foundation; Founding Board President and current Chair of the Advisory Council – Children’s Advocacy Center of Denton County; Member of Advisory Board and Co-Chair of the Capitol Campaign for the College of Public Affairs and Community Service at UNT.

Why should you be elected? I believe in public service. My wife and I have been blessed to the extent that I am able to devote considerable time to service activities. I bring thousands of hours of training and experience to the job. Also, being on the TASB board enables me to represent Denton ISD’s interests at the state and federal levels regarding issues like reauthorizing the “No Child Left Behind “Act and budget problems associated with the sequester. The DISD is doing well. Despite many gaps created by budget cuts, our achievement is steadily improving in a learning environment that gets more complicated every year.

What are the main challenges facing your district, and how would you resolve them? We are a fast-growth District, and the majority of our new kids are “children of poverty”. This is a state-wide trend and brings several challenges. First, we are under increasing pressure to keep pace with facilities. (To this point, we have done very well…we have changed our school designs to be hugely more energy efficient and technologically capable. Every new building is better equipped and cheaper to operate than its predecessor in these respects and in many other ways, too.) Another complication with the explosive growth in the numbers of poor kids is that they almost always start out intellectually and developmentally behind. This is a curable deficiency with adequate resources (staff and materials), but the state budget cuts took away much of this support. The single best thing we can do for this burgeoning group is to implement full day pre-k and kindergarten. With this extra instruction, nutrition, and discipline, these kids can be caught -up before first grade begins….a situation that is hugely preferable to them starting behind and quickly getting the perspective that they are not as good as the other kids. That pathway leads to bad attitudes, disengagement and academic failure. I am very proud of our District. We are one of only eleven Districts out of about 1,034 in the entire State of Texas that has a AA bond rating or higher. I am proud to say that we are a high-performing district, both fiscally and educationally, and we are constantly looking for ways to improve. Our school board was one of five finalists last year for school board of the year for the entire state of Texas. I will close with a word of caution….our staff has done a super job of “doing more with less”, and the effort they have given is no less than heroic. But we must take care not to run them into the ground. We must contain the growth of class sizes across the board, or we will surely face a growing problem of teacher burnout–and that will have serious consequences for student at all levels. My cell number is 940.595.7253. Please feel free to call me.

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