Small town politics is tough and school board politics can be even tougher. As a former board trustee once said, “You are messin’ with their money and you are messin’ with their kids.” I appreciate every candidate and elected board member, past, present and future for their civic service. This year it is good to see 4 candidates vying for 2 at-large positions which will represent all taxpayers, all parents, and all voters in the San Marcos school district. All 4 candidates are good people worthy of our respect and appreciation.
I am voting for Juan Miguel Arredondo, the first name on the ballot.
Miguel is smart, energetic, insightful, and bold. Yes, he is young and Hispanic — both positive attributes in my opinion. For years, Miguel has considered an elected position on the school board to make our schools better — better for all regardless of race, better for all regardless of abilities, better for all regardless of income.
Miguel understands our challenges: 50 percent of our students are at risk of dropping out of school; 2 out of 3 students are from low income families; not enough of our students are prepared for higher education; we have had 8 superintendents in the last 20 years; and the importance of community involvement in education. He knows better than most what is and, more importantly, what is not happening in our classrooms. Miguel will represent us well.
Please join me in voting for Juan Miguel Arredondo. Election day is Saturday May 12.
I agree. Mr. Arredondo looks like a great addition to our school board. It will very helpful to gain the insight of someone who has gone through our schools and has seen the challenges we face firsthand.
I respect the opinion of the person who wrote the above letter. I have a different opinion of Juan Miguel. While I believe he is an intelligent and energetic young man, I feel his lack of life experience is an issue for me and I have concerns about his negative campaigning. I feel a $70 million budget demands guidance from someone who has work, life, and taxpaying experience. To my knowledge he has very little if any of that. I have already voted for Mayhew and Allen.
I too appreciate Mr. Arredondo’s passion for the job, but I agree with Watson’s concerns. I wish Mr. Arredondo hadn’t come across quite so angry, at least that’s what I observed at the LWV forum.
Mr. Arredondo’s energy should receive some of the credit for pretty high early voter turnout (compared to past school elections). I wish he had been more positive and articulated his own vision instead of simply running against Mrs. Allen. I hope for high turnout tomorrow on election day. Thousands of citizens voting would be a powerful statement to the entire board that we are watching as a community — even in May. I will vote for Mayhew and am leaning towards Allen.
Mr Arredondo actually posted some very interesting ideas on this site. I’ll take passion and anger about an issue that has been swept under the carpet for years, over folks just mailing it in.
Our schools and our students deserve passionate leadership. Judy Allen is just barely coming around to admitting that we have challenges here, and frankly, I’d say she’s been dragged, kicking and screaming, to that position.
If memory serves, he talked about engaging the whole community, to address some of our challenges. He talked about visiting successful districts, which have faced similar challenges. He talked about more proactive approaches to working with at-risk students.
Even at the debate, Judy Allen seemed bound and determined that these things were “not the job of the board.”
I’ve had enough of that. We’re all part of this community, and there’s no room for passing the buck. I defy anyone to make a case that there would be citizens with torches and pitchforks, demanding the heads of board members who chose to get more involved and look for creative solutions to the problems we face.
In another string of letters in the Mercury, Mr. Arredondo was asked his opinion about the timing of school board elections – but he never saw the question. Here’s his answer, when I brought it to his attention on his FB page. (He answered that same day, BTW !!)
From the FB page: Juan Miguel Arredondo for San Marcos CISD School Board
“I had not noticed I was asked another question on the Mercury – the Sam Brannon letter must have buried that notification somewhere. As you know, I believe community involvement and participation in our school district is critical. Personally I support moving school board elections to November because of the cost associated with keeping the election in May and because of the likely increase of participation in the process of electing our representatives to the school board. However, due to the lawsuit between the SMCISD and the local G.I Forum both parties would have to agree to a November election date. I believe that the local G.I Forum would only agree to move the election to November if the school district chose to have 7 single member districts instead of the 5-2 system they currently have in place. I wish the process to move elections to November was easy, but there is a lot of history associated with the issue. I think it is a conversation this community needs to have and we need to all look back and look at the exact reason we have single member districts in the first place.”
Ted, (1) engaging the whole community and (2) visiting successful districts are not ideas for improving the district, they are ideas of how to get ideas to improve the school district. I went to the CTMC forum, watched the LOWV debate and have reviewed the race with a lot of interest, and all I have heard from Mr. Arredondo are platitudes. Maybe there is more and I haven’t voted yet, but talking a lot about the fact that there is a problem is not solving the problem. And his posture towards Mrs. Allen revealed either arrogance or immaturity.
I am leaning towards Mrs. Allen because I am not fired up over a second candidate. I feel attention is finally turning to the district, and I hope that all the single member spots turn over during the next couple years. In that dream scenario, Mrs. Allen’s experience could be a real plus as our new board settles in.
Involving the community, to find solutions to problems that are beyond the scope of what the ISD can accomplish alone, yet are clearly impacting performance in the schools, is a HUGE step in the right direction, whether Mr. Arredondo has specific ideas for solutions or not.
Ditto for visiting successful districts, and establishing some relationships, with people who know how to address some of our issues.
I’ve heard the blame for our poor performance placed squarely with the parents/students/community/culture/whatever of our poor Hispanic students, for years. As though there is simply nothing that can be done with “those people.” Of course, the board members and others are more delicate about how they say it, because they don’t want to come across as overtly racist.
I dare say that if I were a Hispanic former student, and I’d been listening to that crap for years, interspersed with comments about us merely having a “perception problem,” I might come across a bit angry and/or arrogant. Hell, I am certain that I already have, here and at previous board debates.
Someone has needed to get in there and call BS for years, and I am glad we now have someone with the background to do it, without having to deal with the hollow “you obviously haven’t spent enough time in our schools” rebuttals.
Hell Judy Allen even used that at the debate. If only our citizens could spend a couple hours at the schools, they’d see…
That’s just more perception problem crap. As though all we need to do is show people how shiny the desks are, and how pregnant “certain groups” are, and how uninvolved certain parents are, we’d all just nod our heads understandingly, and agree that “certain groups of people” just aren’t going to do well.
More people should be angry. The progress we have made is commendable, but it is very much the tip of the iceberg, and we need someone who cares, and who understands that things can and should be a whole lot better, and that we owe ALL of our students every opportunity to be successful.
Mr. Marchut, I couldn’t have said it better. So instead I’ll just say ditto and vote for Mr. Arredondo on Saturday.
Arredondo was far too arrogant at the LWV debate for a 20 year old who has never worked full time or paid a dime in property taxes. How can he possibly understand the economics of those of us that struggle to do this everyday and send the lions share to school board to spend. He can’t in my opinion.
Allen is not perfect, nobody is, but at least she has experience and motivation to continue service. BTW, I believe she voted to move elections to November and wasn’t intimidated by a GI Forum lawsuit. JMA is supported by the GI Forum and can’t say he would move the election while running I believe.
Ted, I agree with most of what you have to say about our schools, but I do not think the division in our district is racial and I do not think when Mrs. Allen or anyone else talks of “them” she is referring to race at all. We have a property problem. 80% of the kids are on free or reduced lunch, and the teachers are battling every day to overcome hunger and a host of roadblocks they must get beyond before ever getting to math or reading. The entire solution to that problem will never come from a Board; it has to come from the entire community engaging with local families where they are and helping them through the struggles that are hamstringing their children the same as they did the parents 20 years ago when I was at SMHS. The best thing anyone interested in the future of the district can do is go to the schools and see the challenges and be a part of the solution on a family by family level. I am about to go vote, and I am going to choose the two candidates whom I believe have engaged on the front lines the most — that is leading. Paul has four kids in the district — check. Mrs. Allen has been working years to make the schools better. JMA went to school here and that is a plus, but I wish he had spent the last year in the schools engaging at a less glamorous level rather than focusing on simply attending board meetings. He hasn’t been a leader yet, but he wants to be voted right to the top.
John, I am sorry to hear that. Those are exactly the things Mr. Arredondo talked about doing. He would be a great addition.
As to the lion’s share of the money going to the district, I suspect it comes from high dollar propery, like the outlet mall, not our struggling families. I’m not sure what that has to do with anything, anyway.
This is getting to be hilarious.
On another current blog on this site there are some people standing up for SB. They are saying to run for county commissioner you don’t have to own property and pay taxes. Yet on this blog Watson finds that one of the reasons he doesn’t want to vote for JMA is because he doesn’t own property and so in turn he is not paying property taxes that go to the schools. It seems it’s okay for one but not the other. I wished they both paid property taxes. There is an old saying, “Trust only those who stand to lose as much as you when things go wrong”
Politics are strange. Seems that people turn everything around juts to suit their political stance.
We’re already property wealthy, the last time I checked. Unless someone is running on a campaign to lower taxes, I’d rather vote for someone passionate about getting results.
The notion that the handful of us who can afford to own property are somehow more in touch with the struggling families in San Marcos, than the candidate who actually raised the issue of students who can’t afford to eat, is somewhat amusing to me.
As for the other debate, I prefer to leave it wherever it is, and hope that it goes away altogether. It does not need to spill over into this topic.