Jesse Ponce, Jr., assistant shop supervisor and carpenter, has been declared elected school trustee, single member district three, by the San Marcos CISD due to his unopposed candidacy for the position.
Ponce, a life long resident of the school district, has worked in Hays County all of his life. He worked for Marshall Gas for thirteen years and for the last seven years has worked for the Hays CISD.
For purposes of full disclosure, Mr. Ponce’s two oldest sons have graduated from San Marcos High School and his youngest son is now attending Miller Junior High School. To his knowledge, Ponce has no relatives employed by the San Marcos CISD but he has a lot of extended family in town.
Ponce wanted to serve on the school board because “many things in San Marcos need attention.” His list includes “improving our student’s grades,” “improving teacher pay,” and “finding ways to save money on energy use.”
For Ponce, the single greatest problem facing our school district is the “Hispanic drop out rate.” He says, “We need to put an end to it.”
Ponce agrees that there is a perception that neighboring school districts are better than ours and “that is one of the reasons I wanted to run.” For Ponce, the perception does not reflect the realities of our area school districts. To deal with the perception, the school district needs to “go out to the public with information” about the quality of our schools.
On the relationship between academics and sports, Ponce noted that at “the high school level, athletes have to keep their grades up to play.”
To deal with the projected growth, Ponce observed that our school district “is not growing as fast as surrounding districts” and that the perception of our school district’s quality “is contributing to slow growth.”
The best way to cope with academic achievement differences, Ponce says, is to “help students achieve their goals.” He pointed to such programs as Pathfinders which was established to aid in this issue. Ponce promised that “I intend to be more involved with that.”
If he were granted one wish that would improve the school district, it would be “getting people to understand that education is important. We need finances to keep our schools functioning as centers of learning.”
For Ponce, the single most critical part of the educational process in our community that he feels will be an on-going problem is “keeping teachers long term. we have a high turnover rate. We need to have students knowing our teachers because it helps build trust.”
In conclusion, Ponce said, “I’m very new to this. I’m sure that I’ll be learning a lot. I’m a hard worker and reminded people that we need to work together.”
School board election early voting runs from April 28 to May 6. Election day is May 10. Please click here to find full information on times, dates, and places for early voting and election day voting for SMCISD school board elections.
The San Marcos Area League of Women Voters is holding a school board candidate debate on April 28.
By ED MIHALKANIN, Ph.D
Audio interview with Jesse Ponce, Jr.