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Place 7 school board seat draws contenders

Profile image for By Britney Tabor
By Britney Tabor

Three school board seats are on the May 10 ballot in Sanger, but only one is contested.

Veterinarian Dale Gleason and retiree Jeff Morris are both seeking to fill the Place 7 seat being vacated by incumbent Ralph Amyx, who did not file for re-election. In Places 1 and 6, incumbents James Howard and Brad Watts are uncontested.

Early voting begins Monday and continues through May 6 in the nonpartisan election.

Both candidates for the contested Place 7 seat said they have knowledge of the issues facing the district and a desire to contribute.

Gleason, 42, said that within the last year, he’s attended the district’s school board meetings and become familiar with the issues facing the district.

Since 2002, he’s been a business owner and said his experiences handling budgets, dealing with employees and problem-solving are all things he can contribute to the school board.

“I understand it’s important to be prudent with money and to save money,” he said. “However, it’s important to spend money to keep facilities and staff top notch.”

Gleason said he would like to see that Sanger handles the new graduation requirements, adopted by the state earlier this year, as best as it can within its means. Gleason said he also wants to see that enrollment in Sanger continues to grow.

He said he knows his neighbors have a choice in where they send their children to school, and he’s hopeful that place is the Sanger school district.

“I want to make sure Sanger ISD is the place they’re choosing for their children and not taking them out of the school district,” Gleason said.

Morris, 53, served two consecutive terms on the school board before withdrawing for a third term in 2011 because of a demanding job. He said he decided to run again because he wanted to give back to the community.

The issues Sanger faces are no different from any other district in the state, Morris said. Like most districts, funding is a challenge, he said. Every year the district must consider how “the budget is going to fall,” Morris said. The district wants to keep quality staff and in order to retain those individuals, the district has to offer competitive pay, he said.

Another challenge Sanger faces, he said, is “ how to integrate current technology and keeping the modern students engaged.”

“I’ve served on the board before,” Morris said. “I feel like I went through that process, I went through that training, so I kind of understand the role.

“I want to give back to the community,” he said. “That’s important to me.”

Howard, a 43-year-old mortuary/crematory owner, is running for a second term on the board. He says the top issue facing the school district is growth. It’s something the district must prepare for by renovating existing facilities in need of upgrades, Howard said.

He said it’s important to provide the best facilities for staff and students and “keep the district moving in the right direction.”

Watts, 46, an electric line superintendent, is also seeking his second term on the school board. Repeated calls to Watts for comment were not returned.

BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter at @BritneyTabor.