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May 6th, 2009
Chiu attempts return to school board

David Chiu, who served with the San Marcos CISD Trustees for one year in 1999, is attempting to win another term. Photo by Andy Sevilla.

By BILL PETERSON
Executive Editor

David Chiu served one year on the San Marcos CISD Board of Trustees for one year before winning election as mayor of San Marcos for one term in 2000. Chiu, 65, also has been president of the San Marcos Area Chamber of Commerce (SMACC) and has served on numerous local committees through the years.

Newstreamz interviewed Chiu at the restaurant he owns, Tres Hermanas, on Hunter Road.

Where do you live and how long have you lived there?

311 Laurel Hill, about 29 years. There wasn’t much here.

Do you have children?

Three daughters.

Do you have children in the San Marcos CISD?

No. They all finished.

They all finished San Marcos CISD?

Yes.

You’re children who are out of high school, what education did they receive after high school?

Two of them got masters degrees and the other one is studying Chinese medicine with a bachelors degree and she’s working on her masters right now, and they’ve all got three letters behind them – honors at Texas State University. One got her masters at St. Mary’s in San Antonio, the other one got hers here (at Texas State), the other one is working in Austin.

If your children were blessed with children of their own and they lived here, would you recommend that their children attend schools here in the San Marcos CISD?

Right now, they are following their mother’s footsteps. They’re going to Wonderland School and when they’re finished at Wonderland School, they’ll be going to the San Marcos public schools. Two granddaughters.

Why would you recommend your grandchildren attend San Marcos CISD?

Why not? Their mother did well.

What is your educational background?

I went to university here and went to Cisco College.

Did you get degreed?

No, I had a business opportunity, so I went into business.

What were you studying?

Biology.

What do you know about the San Marcos school district?

I used to be on the school board and when I was on the school board I pushed for the academic academy. When I went to the mayor’s office, the program got cut, even though we hired a director and implemented the program at the time. The San Marcos school district right now is suffering what I call the perception illness. It’s test scores are better than Hays and New Braunfels, but the perception is that we are not quite up to par. Perception is emotionally based. So, it’s much harder to correct a perception than it is trying to correct something that is structurally based. My intent when I get back to the school board, working with the school district from the teachers to the principals to the administration and the school board members, is to see if we can get the perception corrected, and let’s look at how we’re going to raise the education standard in the whole school district and look at the academy again.

How many students are in the San Marcos CISD?

It hasn’t changed much. About 7,000.

How many teachers are in the San Marcos CISD?

That’s a question, I don’t even think the superintendent can tell you right now.

What is the annual budget of the San Marcos CISD?

I’m not familiar with it right now, but when I was with the school board, it was about $45 million at that time.

Where do you think the weaknesses in the school board lie?

I wouldn’t say there is any weakness in the school board. Maybe different school board members have different visions and they care in their particular field. Some people may be more involved in the school district because they like to see a football program or a certain basketball program or whatever as a superintendent before. My goal is more education. There are enough that are pushing in the sports field. Not that I don’t support sports. But, to me, our school district in its history only graduated one professional football player. With the tens of thousands of students, only one made a living playing football. To me, maybe, perhaps, the academic part is more important.

What would you like to say to our readers and listeners?

To me, you know, education is everybody’s business. Let’s face it, I came to the United States because of the education excellence it provides. In 40 years since I came here, we don’t even compete, internationally speaking, in math contests or science contests. That, to me, is not the country I came here for. We have all the opportunities, we have all the materials, the talent, everything, but we just need to shape and mold.

You were on the school board in 1999 and 2000. What do you feel was your greatest contribution when you were on the school board?

Like I said, the academic academy. We had a director and when I moved into the mayor’s office, that program got cut a year later. Like all programs, if the advocacy disappears, then the program disappears.

The last time you served on the school board, you ran for mayor successfully and so served only one year of your school board term. If you are elected to the school board this year, are you going to run for the San Marcos City Council before your school board term is completed?

No. I’ve been to the city. I have friends who came to me and urged me to run for the school board because I said before that if I would run for public office, the school would probably be the one that I would consider. To me, the future of the USA depends on the children. I did my time and it’s the next generation that we must prepare. As I’ve said before, we are leaving our kids the greatest debt, and yet we aren’t shaping them to the point where they can compete. As I told my fellow school board member at the time, when I left the school board, I have always looked at the school district and the city as the parents. The school is the mother and the city is the father. Education came from the school district. The job providing, all the other roles – transportation, homes and even enforcement of rules – is the city part. It’s kind of like a family. Father and mother. When I left the school district with the blessing of the school board members is to provide a linkage between the city and the school. Not to mention, at the time, the university and the city were acting very stupid. So when I couldn’t get the situation resolved on the sideline to bring harmony between the entities in our communities working together, that’s when I got mad. As I told Gerry Supple (Texas State president at the time), “This idiocy must stop.” So, that’s when I ran for the mayor’s office.

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