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Monday, June 27, 2022

Transparency, listening to community among issues in Kennedale school board race

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Article reprinted from the Arlington Citzen Journal/Star Telegram of 5-8-13. (photos added by Kennedale News – click on name of candidate to see photo)

BY PATRICK M. WALKER

KENNEDALE ? More transparency in decision-making and an environment in which community input is more welcome are among the key issues in the race for three seats on the Kennedale school board.

Place 4 incumbent {{t2:Janet Adams:}} is running for a fourth three-year term. She faces {{t2:Elisha Woodson:}}, a college student who expects to graduate in June with a degree in science secondary education. {{more}}

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Board President Mike Walker, who holds the Place 5 seat, is not seeking re-election. {{t2:Maria Douglas:}}, an official with the federal women?s prison hospital in Fort Worth, and {{t2:Stewart Richardson:}},a commercial construction project manager, are vying for the position.
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A special election to fill the final year of the unexpired term for Place 7 has drawn {{t2:John Hunt:}}, who resigned from the board in January so that the district could hire his wife as an intermediate school counselor, and {{t2:Stephanie Vigil:}}?, an Arlington school district employee. Eddie Patterson, who was appointed to fill Hunt?s spot, is not running to keep the seat.
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Transparency and community input were discussed at a candidate forum last month where all six hopefuls weighed in on those issues and others.
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Douglas, Vigil and Woodson insisted that communication and openness between district officials and the public need improvement. Adams and Hunt took the opposing view.
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?Unfortunately, I think the community has lost their voice,? said Douglas, who wants documents, reports and check registers put online for public scrutiny. ?If you?re a parent, teacher, taxpayer, we don?t really have a culture that welcomes open discussion. We don?t really welcome questions or diversity of thought.?
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She also said that the district should formulate strategic goals that are ?much more futuristic? and that decisions should be made with them in mind.
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?Three years, five years, 10 years out, where do we see ourselves going, what are our priorities, what is our focus?? she said.
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Woodson said that when questions are put to district staffers, sometimes they give conflicting answers, and that a communication plan would help put them on the same page.
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Woodson echoed Douglas? stance that suggestions from parents and other non-district employees are not always given proper consideration.
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?When we give our input, it should be listened to, and we should be able to see that in action somewhere down the line,? Woodson said.
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Richardson told the Star-Telegram that building ?a stronger relationship between our teachers, administrators and the school board? is among his priorities.
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?I want to know that we are keeping our teachers involved in the decision-making with administrators, as they are the ones in the classrooms,? he said.
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Hunt, first elected in 2009, and Adams, on the other hand, pointed out that trustees often make themselves accessible after meetings and when in public to answer questions.
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?Unfortunately a lot of the issues that I think people aren?t satisfied with the transparency on are employee issues,? Hunt said. ?Under federal law those can?t be transparent … they can?t be shared in maybe some fashion some people prefer.?
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Said Adams: ?We?re very open to share what we can with our community members, and that was one of my goals ? was to continue to open communication with our community. And we?ve come a long way from the last nine years I?ve been on the board, I will tell you. We?ve been able to communicate a lot better in different ways with the community.?
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