Election 2018

Beginning Monday morning, incumbent Pat Burns will defend his Place 3 seat against Alan Strittmatter.

Early voting runs from April 22-30, and election day is May 4.

Despite the current power dynamic, Strittmatter has been living in the school district for more than three decades longer than his opponent. Not far from the Strittmatter family business is a road bearing the family surname.

He said his family has roots in the community going back to the late 19th century.

Having spent the past 19 years in the district, Burns said he still seems like an outsider at times in the close-knit community.

Burns is currently the longest-serving member of the school board, as well at its president. According to the board’s website, he has been elected to Place 3 since 2010.

Each of them was asked three questions, and responses have been minimally edited for clarity.

Pat Burns



drc_pat_burns_headshot

Burns

Age: 55

Born in: Houston

Employment: national sales manager, Jamaica Bearings, 2003-2011; national sales manager, Herber Aircraft Service, 2011-present

Education: bachelor of business administration, University of North Texas, 1989

Online: Facebook — Pat Burns for School Board

What is something you’d like to change about the district?

Well I’d like to change teacher pay. House Bill 3 has already passed the House, and hopefully it’s going to pass the Senate, and I’ve already been very vocal about how I’d like 100% of that to go to teacher pay. We’re going to get a new, I think it’s $890 per kid, and again, I’d like for all of that to go to teacher pay.

What is something you’d like to preserve within the Pilot Point ISD?

I’d like to preserve the pride in Pilot Point. I’ve only been there 19 years, and I’m kind of considered a newbie with 19 years, but it’s a very proud community. And we’re proud of our schools, proud of our kids, and I think we’re doing pretty well right now. We’re enjoying a lot of success right now ... we’re at an all-time high with TEA [Texas Education Agency] ratings and recognitions. We’re doing some real good things right now and I just want to continue to be a part of that.

What is something you feel not enough people understand about the district?

I don’t think a lot of people understood; we put a softball field in without any extra taxpayer money. Without a bond, we were able to put in a softball field, and I don’t think there was very clear communication on that. But that was to keep us in compliance with Title IX.

The boys had a field. The girls didn’t have a field of their own; they played on a city field for years and years and years, but it wasn’t owned by the district. So we did that and I don’t think a lot of people understood that was a necessity, not a want.

Alan Strittmatter



drc_david_alan_strittmatter

Strittmatter

Age: 51

Born in: Gainesville

Employment: peanut farmer, 1989-92; worked at Strittmatter Irrigation & Supply Inc., 1993-present; currently co-owner and president

Education: bachelor’s in marketing, Tarleton State University, 1989

Online: None

What is something you’d like to change about the district?

One of the things I would like to change is I think we need to better recognize how important our teachers and staff are. Our compensation and support for our teachers needs to improve. When you look at the data, the salary data by comparison of the majority of the districts around us, we’re not competitive enough salary-wise.

I feel like we have to stay on course as far as recruiting and being able to retain the good talent that we have. We have to be able to rely on our staff at the end of the day because they are the golden key to the ultimate success of our students. Our turnover rate has been excessive in certain areas, and we need to get on board with remedying that.

What is something you’d like to preserve within the Pilot Point ISD?

So many things. Well, one of the things I’d like to preserve is our integrity as engaged and involved parents and taxpayers. ISDs are responsible for the majority of our property tax bill every year, and our ISD is also the largest employer in town.

As stakeholders, we have a right to be involved in how and why our school finances are raised and used. We, as concerned parents and stakeholders, need to make sure that we keep our finger on the pulse because there’s only an X amount of resources to go around. We just need to make sure that we continue to promote prudent financial stewardship and financially sound decision making.

What is something you feel not enough people understand about the district?

How important their voice and their input really is.

MARSHALL REID can be reached at 940-566-6862 and via Twitter at @Marshall KReid.t

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