On March 21st of this year, I wrote about Paul Garcia and his bid for the At Large position of the SISD school board. That was the first of what I hope to be many articles on just what a school board is, and what they do.
Since that first article I’ve discovered there are more than a few people who are in the same position as me – we really don’t know what a school board does. I hope to change that during this series.
Before we jump into this article, a disclaimer: The El Paso Herald Post does not endorse any individual or party, so these profiles are simply to educate our readers about who is running.
Not too long ago I met with David “Coach” Morales. Morales is also running for the At Large position on the Socorro School Board of Trustees – the School Board in Socorro.
So, who is David Morales and what qualifies him for the school board?
“I’m an educator. I served as a teacher, coach and a middle school principal for 30 years as a career,” says David Morales. “I’m married, my wife is Janet Morales. She’s also an educator. She’s an assistant principal in the Clint Independent School District.”
Morales not only has another child that is an educator by trade, but has two sons who are currently attending school within the district.
“I have five children, the oldest being Madeline. She is a teacher and she’s now a stay home mom, but she is certified in Texas, New
Mexico. I have a son, David Mark…he’s a Border Patrol agent in the Del Rio sector. And then I have a daughter – Amanda. She’s a CPA with the Jack in the Box corporation,” says Morales “And then my two sons are with me today. They attend Horizon Heights Elementary School, which is in the Socorro Independent School District. And [that’s] probably one of the reasons why I’m here today. I feel that I can be a representative for our community throughout the district. Being At Large I would be able to represent all 46 schools in the district.”
For my interview with Morales, he brought his two youngest sons with him, as did Paul Garcia. I think it’s very important for children to
not only see how their parents’ campaign, but that their children become active participants in the process – by being with their parents, they gain a greater understanding of the election process then they would from a textbook or classroom setting.
What challenges does the Socorro Independent School District face, according to Mr. Morales?
“Well, right now I believe the equity for all schools is something that I’m very conscientious about. I’m worried somewhat due to the fact that I’ve had some teachers, I’ve had some administrators, even some of the parents bringing that concern to me…a lot of these campuses are getting older, and they’re in desperate need of having some improvement made, renovations…some remodeling issues possibly down and down the road. Even with their infrastructure. I think that the the technology, some of the resources that are need[ed] and that would be trying to get the equity to each of the schools across the district with new schools.”
We also spoke about charter schools and how they are coming to El Paso. (Authors note: Tim Holt, a fellow writer with the El Paso Herald Post, as written a great piece about charter schools)
“Well, something I learned recently is it in San Antonio is a big issue. I believe it’s up to 25%. It’s taking over. Charter schools are taking over the San Antonio Independent School District, and for that they are really, really desperately looking for, finding ways to continue finding their schools,” says Morales.
“That is probably one of the biggest issues here in El Paso. It hasn’t really affected us. However, they’re starting to come. These charter schools are starting to come, and as you well know, we do not get funding for our district. These students are taking recruited out and the finding actually goes in the average daily attendance that each student is entitled to, it goes with that student.”
Charter schools and the worry over them is a common theme I am hearing from educators in all districts. Everyone is worried that these schools, with their lack of transparency and oversight, will ultimately do a disservice to the student. On this issue, both David Morales and Paul Garcia agree.
I also asked Morales about was about future growth for the Socorro School District. There is only so much land within Socorro, and they are soon to be land-locked by Ysleta, El Paso, and others, limiting future expansion.
“Well, first of all, we would have to realize that we have to put some strategic planning in place, knowing what is going to come, what’s coming at us, where the growth is and, and be proactive in the fact that some of the schools that we have in those areas, they may have to be rethought of…In fact, what I said earlier, they were, some of these schools have been outdated. Maybe the fact that they can be rebuilt to modernized campuses and therefore that may be an option.”
“Other things, you can have open enrollment,” says Morales. “Open enrollment may also entice students coming into our district. I mean that’s as far as meeting the charter schools. But as far as that, I think that being landlocked we would have to start looking at our older campuses and making sure that everything is working to efficiency.”
I gave Morales the chance to share his final thoughts with us.
“Well, as a future school board member, it’s a volunteer position. Obviously, we did not get paid and myself being involved with the Sun Bowl Association for over 22 years, I’m the chairman now with the team host committee for the Sun Bowl Association. We’re volunteers so; obviously we didn’t get paid for that as well…This is something I’m doing for the community. The fact that we need to be transparent. We need to have – allow our taxpayers; they’re hardworking – their funds to be properly spent. That’s one of the things, one of the issues that I’m running on. Also, our teachers need to be represented. I do know that there’s a need for some pay raises…not only for teachers or support staff and even the hourly employees. I do know in Austin, in the state they’re working on it. I read an article this morning; it looks like something’s going to happen here that’s going to be positive for teachers. So, that is to me is very, very important to be a representative for all employees, all taxpayers.”
Do you know of something in El Paso County that is interesting? If so, I would love to hear about it. Give me a call at 915-201-0653 or send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org