Joe Castillo, program analyst for Texas State University, is running for re-election to the SMCISD school board for single member district one (1). Castillo is running for a third full term.
Castillo, a resident of the school district for over twenty six years, has served in the past on the housing Authority, Main Street Advisory Board, and as a board member and president of the Hays County Area Food Bank.
Castillo has a B.S. in Education from Texas State University, where he majored in political science and minored in business.
For purposes of full disclosure, Castillo has no relatives employed by the school district nor does he have any relatives enrolled in the district’s schools.
Castillo is running to complete work he started when he was first appointed to the board in August 2001 and to implement the new grade alignment made possible by the passage of the school bonds in February 2004. Castillo said that when he was appointed, the district was “near bankruptcy” and pointed out that during his service on the board, the district’s fund balance increased from $1.1 million to $14 million.
For Castillo, the single greatest problem is “school funding.” The Texas House bill that just passed “doesn’t help our school district.” According to Castillo, San Marcos is a no or low growth district and this hurts our district’s competitiveness when it comes to holding personnel. Said Castillo, we have very good teachers who can move to other school districts. we are losing teachers to other area school districts.”
Castillo acknowledged that there is a perception that neighboring school districts are better than ours but “actually our school district compares favorably to area school districts.” Further, Castillo stated that “It is up to the community to promote our school district.”
On the issue of how sports programs affect academics, Castillo believes “they both go hand in hand” arguing that “‘No Pass No Play’ has helped reduce our drop out rate”. Also, for Castillo, “sports brings our community together.”
New facilities that have recently been built, are under construction, and are planned for construction in the next few years “are designed to take more students than are currently enrolled” said Castillo. Yet, a demographer who the the school district hired to help complete the grade realignment has advised our school district, that the SMCISD “will not grow substantially within the next ten to fifteen years” according to Castillo.
To deal with academic achievement differences, Castillo said that the district has a number of initiatives underway. First, the district implemented the TAKS test. Second, the district has partnered with Texas State by working with Dr. Max Warshauer and his Math Works program which is designed to increase student success on the math portion of the TAKS test.
If Castillo could accomplish one thing instantly, he would want “to get money to begin initiatives” to help students.
For Castillo, the most important factor for bringing Ms Shafer to San Marcos as superintendent based upon her actual school system administrative experience was that she “managed a multi-million dollar budget in Houston.”
Castillo believes that the most critical part of the education process in our community that he feels will be an on-going problem is the “perception issues of our district being low perfroming compared to other area districts.” For Castillo,, “we need to get our voice out about the good characteristics of our district.”
In conclusion, Castillo said that “I’m the most experienced of all of the candidates for single member district one. I have an open mind and no agenda.” In his judgment, we “now have a united cohesive board” and “there is a lot of work that needs to be finished.”
School Board Election early voting runs from April 28 to May6. Election Day is May 6. Please click on below to get full information on times, dates, and polling places for early voting and election day voting for SMCISD school board elections.
By ED MIHALKANIN, Ph.D
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