Q&A: Meet Jason Burdine, Angie Hanan-candidates for Fort Bend ISD board of trustees Position 1

Fort Bend ISD board of trustees, Position 1

* indicates incumbent

Jason Burdine*
Occupation: Registered Investment Advisor
Experience: 6 years and 5 months
Contact: www.jasonburdine.com

What is the biggest challenge facing Fort Bend ISD, and how would you address it?

JB: Student growth and achievement is at the core of what we do in Fort Bend ISD. With the pandemic causing a shift in how and when we deliver instruction, we know that the achievement/receivement learning gap has increased with the loss of in-person instruction, and continuous benchmarking and assessment. To address this, we must continue to work our long-range strategic plan with our north star, the Profile of a Graduate, while continuing to actively listen to, and seek input from our district and school leaders, teachers, parents, and students to adjust and pivot while keeping the needs of all FBISD students in the forefront.

How should the district manage its response to the coronavirus pandemic and plan to reopen schools for face-to-face learning?

JB: While it has always been my personal goal to push for our students to return to face-to-face instruction, as a trustee, my role is at the governance level-the board as a body of governance votes to approve the specific dates. The day-to-day operations of the district are management level decisions. As a board, we hold the superintendent accountable for the implementation and success of the plan.

How should the district plan for and think about future population growth in order to best utilize existing and future campuses?

JB: We use Population and Survey Analysts data, and our long-range plan to drive future discussions around this matter. Post-COVID-19, education may look, feel and sound different depending on the outcomes from the 87th legislative session specifically on school funding.

Do you see the need for FBISD to call a bond in the next year? Why or why not?

JB: We are currently in the process of completing a FBISD facility audit and needs assessment. Once this process is completed district leaders will analyze the data. Pre-COVID-19, we had been planning a future bond. However, with a projected $15.4 billion dollar state revenue shortfall we are observing the happenings during the 87th legislative session.

Angie Hanan
Occupation: Educational Consultant
Experience: I am approaching my 30th year in education with 15 of those years in public education as a regular education teacher, English as a Second Language teacher, Reading Recovery teacher at Highlands Elementary, literacy coach at Blue Ridge Elementary and district coordinator for the English as a Second Language Program in Fort Bend ISD. I have spent the past 14 years as an educational consultant supporting instructional programs through teacher training, instructional coaching, curriculum writing, grant writing, grant facilitation and project management for technology deployment and curriculum audit response. I am the immediate past president of the non-profit organization PACE, The Fort Bend Association of Parents for Academic Excellence. I am on the Gulf Coast Destination Imagination Advisory Board after being a team manager for seven years. I have been an active school volunteer as a member of the Colony Bend PTO Executive Board and as a member of the Quail Valley Middle School Campus-Based Leadership Team.
Contact: www.voteangieforFBISD.com

What is the biggest challenge facing Fort Bend ISD, and how would you address it?

AH: The challenge is two-fold. First, I believe the school board is not providing adequate oversight in the area of quality and timely instructional program evaluations to assure the district's vision and policies are effectively driving instruction. Secondly, I feel the district is falling short in regards to transparently collaborating and communicating with stakeholders and with the board. For every child to have a high-quality program every day, no matter what program they are in or school they attend, there needs to be oversight and communication to make sure what is written on paper is actually happening for our children.

How should the district manage its response to the coronavirus pandemic and plan to reopen schools for face-to-face learning?

AH: Moving forward with FBISD's phase-in plan, I recommend the following steps: 1) Comply with state requirements for face-to-face and online instruction. 2) Provide timely information to parents regarding transportation availability and other factors that may prohibit face-to-face attendance. 3) Provide clear and timely communication to teachers and parents regarding safety protocols, school closures and instructional expectations. 4) Implement targeted instructional plans to accelerate learning for all students, including students who were below level or at-risk prior to COVID-19 closures. 5) Develop a district-wide "digital-divide" rectification plan to ensure long-term equitable access to technology devices and increased digital literacy instruction occurs during face-to-face (and online) learning.

How should the district plan for and think about future population growth in order to best utilize existing and future campuses?

AH: Families do not want to be rezoned and neighborhood schools are where our children build friendships and parents become acquainted with other parents. Children are resilient, but not every child responds well to change. Notwithstanding, I recognize that building over-utilization, under-utilization and district growth is a problem board members must face and must listen to community input when making decisions. FBISD has created public-facing procedures that outline how the School Boundaries Oversight Committee will assist in the decision-making process. I believe this committee's input is paramount in helping the board determine whether to accept or reject administration's boundary recommendations.

Do you see the need for FBISD to call a bond in the next year? Why or why not?

AH: No. In 2018, Fort Bend ISD residents passed a $992.6 million dollar bond. While the bond passed with 74% of voters in favor, I believe the next year should be used to carefully analyze the impact COVID-19 will have on school funding. With staff focused on issues surrounding the pandemic, I do not feel they would have adequate time nor adequate resources to effectively prepare a bond package. I also believe the district should focus on adequately fulfilling improvements outlined in the current bond before calling for another. In addition, I think the district needs to better utilize long-range planning to address equity and improvements among our aging schools and facilities.

This article comes from our ABC13 partners at Community Impact Newspapers.