Budget cuts on minds of DISD candidates

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Two Denton school board members facing challengers

Three places on the Denton school board are on the ballot for the May 11 election.

Glenna Harris is up for re-election in Place 3, Mia Price and Donna Woodfork are running for Place 4, and Prudence Sanchez and Charles Staffordin are vying for Place 5.

Place 3

Harris is running unopposed for another three-year term in Place 3.

The 60-year-old pediatrician said that given the budgetary cuts of the last legislative biennium, she felt it important to run again and “continue the process through to provide the best educational [success] for our students.”

Since the last biennium, the school district has lost classroom personnel as student enrollment continues to grow. The effects of funding cuts are still in view, she said.

“It’s an ongoing process to make sure we’re providing kids with a quality education and opportunities,” Harris said. “The job’s not done yet.”

Place 4

Price, 57, said the district is “on a good path,” and experience and knowledge will be important in continuing on that path of success.

“Having experience and knowledge is important because, in spite of all the work we’re doing, we still have challenges to face,” she said.

Price, an accounts payable manager, said her commitment makes her the best candidate for Place 4.

“I [had] proven experience before I served on the board in addition to serving on the board, and that’s important when challenges arise,” she said.

Issues facing the district, she said, include the growing student population, increased standards for accountability and the budget cap for facilities.

Woodfork, 43, who listed her occupation as a teacher, could not be reached for comment. Last year, she ran for the Denton mayor’s seat.

Place 5

First-time candidate Prudence Sanchez said she’s running because she’s concerned about the future of Denton schoolchildren. The 50-year-old dental hygienist-turned-attorney said she would offer a fresh perspective to the school board.

She said she’s gotten a perspective of the educational impact on children she works with in the juvenile justice system. Sanchez said she became a lawyer to help children aging out of the foster system and the homeless population.

Among the issues facing the district, she said, are: student growth and the number of those children living in poverty, which affects their education process; children and parents with mental health issues that need to be addressed and require the support of the community; and the need for smaller class sizes, which lets students receive more one-on-one interaction with teachers.

“I want to become a part of the educational process and advocate for our children,” she said. “I just want to make sure that the needs of our children are represented. I would just like the opportunity to serve the community. It’s one of the reasons why I went to law school.”

Stafford, the Place 5 incumbent, said there’s a lot of work to do and that he has the preparation and connections to ensure it’s done.

Stafford, 60, a real estate agent, has served with Texas Association of School Boards, including its School Board Advocacy Network and legislative advisory council, which he says has helped him effectively represent Denton schools’ needs at the regional and state levels.

Among the issues he said the district faces are state funding cuts, funding for facilities and No Child Left Behind regulations. Stafford said it’s important to figure out how to reduce class sizes so students — such as those on free and reduced lunch or English language learners — can receive more intensive training, teachers don’t become burned out and there’s no breakdown to the effectiveness of what’s being taught in the classrooms.

“I am better positioned to be a more effective representative of the school district,” he said. “It’s really about experience. And that gives me a head start.”

Background

The Denton Record-Chronicle routinely researches the backgrounds of candidates for public office, searching criminal and civil cases, property tax payments and other records over a 10-year period from the first day of the filing period.

Last year, Woodfork faced some residency questions after she was evicted from her apartment. She said during her mayoral race that she was unfairly evicted after her apartment manager refused rent payment arrangements through a third party. She blamed several prior evictions on financial problems stemming from a medical condition.

Denton County records also showed that taxes on one of the 18 properties Sanchez owns were overdue when they were paid on March 22.

Sanchez said she and her husband had just bought the property in a foreclosure sale, and part of settling the purchase required them to pay the past-due taxes.

Early voting begins Monday. Election day is May 11.

DENTON ISD CANDIDATES

Glenna Harris (I)

Age: 60

Born in: Austin

Education: University of Texas at Austin, bachelor’s degree in biology; UT Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, doctorate of medicine

Employment: pediatrician

 

Mia Price (I)

Age: 57

Born in: Baton Rouge, La.

Education: bachelor’s degree in medical technology, Louisiana State University

Employment: accounts payable manager

 

Donna Woodfork

Could not be reached for comment.

 

Prudence Sanchez

Age: 50

Born in: Baton Rouge, La.

Education: juris doctorate degree, Texas Wesleyan University School of Law; bachelor’s degree in applied arts and sciences, University of North Texas; associate of science in dental hygiene, University of New Mexico

Employment: practices juvenile defense law in Denton; registered dental hygienist

Website: www.facebook.com/prudenceforschoolboard

 

Charles Stafford (I)

Age: 60

Born in: Lubbock

Education: Monterey High School, Lubbock; University of Texas, studied in the Plan II honors liberal arts program

Employment: real estate agent, construction, property development

 

 


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