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State funding top issue for Krum, Ponder school board candidates

School board candidates for Krum and Ponder ISDs agreed the state's school finance system is an immediate issue for the two school districts.

A state funding mechanism known as Additional State Aid for Tax Reduction, or ASATR, was established in 2006 to make sure certain school districts, such as Krum and Ponder, did not lose money. The funding was set to expire before the 2017-18 school year, but lawmakers have taken up the issue in the current legislative session.

If the funding does go away, Krum and Ponder ISDs could lose millions in state money. As voters gear up for the May school board elections, candidates made sure the issue remains on the forefront.

Chris Farmer will join incumbents Terry Knight, Teddy Wiley and Mark Cofer in the race for three at-large seats on the Krum school board. Codi Delcambre will challenge incumbent Jeff Chapman for his Place 2 seat on the Ponder school board, while Vangee Deussen and Brandi Jackson run unopposed for their Place 1 and Place 3 seats, respectively.

The Denton Record-Chronicle compiled voting histories for each candidate and caught up with them to talk about the issues facing their districts.

Election day is May 6, and early voting begins Monday. For more information, visit www.votedenton.com.

Krum ISD

Mark Cofer (incumbent)

Krum school board candidate Mark CoferCourtesy photo
Krum school board candidate Mark Cofer
Courtesy photo

Age: 52

Hometown: Krum 

Education: high school diploma; bachelor's degree in political science, Texas Tech University

Employment: southwest general sales manager for LP Building Products

What issues do you think are the most important in Krum schools right now?

The most pressing issue is ASATR funding. Finance is always going to be an issue in Texas until there's a more equitable system. The issue now is figuring out how we're going to pay for growth while also increasing opportunities for students. We try to encourage parents to reach out to legislators. Our superintendent has gone down to Austin. Our job as school board members is making sure we use tax dollars wisely.

Chris Farmer

Krum school board candidate Chris FarmerCourtesy photo
Krum school board candidate Chris Farmer
Courtesy photo

Age: 46

Hometown: Krum

Education: high school diploma; bachelor's degree in business, University of North Texas

Employment: senior vice president at Northstar Bank

What issues do you think are the most important in Krum schools right now?

There's the looming issue of funding that I don't think we have final details on. Even as people keep coming in, I think Krum has outgrown its tax base. It's still growing and will continue to grow. One of the biggest parts of that is getting people, teachers and administrators out here that can manage a growing school.

Terry Knight (incumbent)

Krum school board candidate Terry KnightCourtesy photo
Krum school board candidate Terry Knight
Courtesy photo

Age: 59

Hometown: Krum

Education: high school diploma; attended the University of North Texas

Employment: retired Delta Airlines customer service supervisor

What issues do you think are the most important in Krum schools right now?

Our biggest problem is ASATR and figuring out what to do if it goes away. Our budget process is the thing that we need to work on. We've gone to consortiums about state funding. We've started a grassroots campaign to get parents to reach out to their legislators. We need to let legislators know how we feel, and hopefully they'll do the right thing.

Teddy Wiley (incumbent)

Krum school board candidate Teddy WileyCourtesy photo
Krum school board candidate Teddy Wiley
Courtesy photo

Age: 45

Hometown: Krum

Education: high school diploma; Microsoft, HP, Cisco and Intel certifications

Employment: information technology manager for Eland Energy Inc.

What issues do you think are the most important in Krum schools right now?

The biggest thing right now is state funding, but that's every district. We're preparing for growth. We're being proactive instead of reactive and trying to stay ahead of the growth curve. You try to plan the best you can by watching projections and making sure we have the space.


Ponder ISD

Jeff Chapman (incumbent)

Ponder school board candidate Jeff ChapmanCourtesy photo
Ponder school board candidate Jeff Chapman
Courtesy photo

Age: 48

Hometown: Tuscon, Arizona

Education: high school diploma; served in the Air Force for more than seven years; bachelor's degree in marketing, Wayland Baptist University; master's degree in theological studies, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; currently working on a master's in divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Employment: sales management with Johnson & Johnson

What issues do you think are the most important in Ponder schools right now?

We always want to make sure kids have the best opportunities to succeed. At the end of the day, with whatever path kids want to take, we want to make sure they're prepared. The challenge is that the more opportunities we provide, the more it costs. ASATR funding withdrawal will mean we'll have to figure out how to manage and make the most with the money that we've got.

Codi Delcambre

Ponder school board candidate Codi DelcambreCourtesy photo
Ponder school board candidate Codi Delcambre
Courtesy photo

Age: 41

Hometown: Ponder

Education: high school diploma; associate's degree in business, North Central Texas College; certification as a registered Texas municipal clerk from the University of North Texas

Employment: city secretary and budget officer for the city of Lake Dallas

What issues do you think are the most important in Ponder schools right now?

The most important issue is school finance. We're just kind of in limbo right now. If legislators don't continue with ASATR, Ponder could lost $3 million, and that's about 20 percent of the budget. For a district of our size, that would make a great impact. It would be a major issue if that funding is not renewed.

CAITLYN JONES can be reached at 940-566-6862.

Featured photo:  The Ponder High School band warms up before a marching band contest in 2015. DRC file photo