Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Any Questions for Shane Hardin?

I wanted to take an opportunity to post my responses to the United Educators Association Questionnaire.  I would like more people to know the real Shane Hardin and not a stereotyped ideologue that some would have you believe that I am.  

Reality is, I am simply a Keller ISD father that strongly believes in the future of public education for his daughters.

Please go to www.HardinforKISD.com to learn more.

United Educators Association School Board Candidate Questionnaire
Name:                  Shane Hardin
Running for:       Place 5 on the Keller Board of Trustees 

1.  Please provide any personal background information you would like to share with the employees of the district.

My name is Shane Hardin and I am running for Place 5 on the Keller Board of Trustees.  I was born in Texas, raised in Texas, and graduated from The University of Texas.  I grew up in a small town east of Dallas called Wills Point.  I attended Wills Point High School where I was on the honors program, lettered in baseball, and graduated in 1993.  From the small town, I went for the big city lights of Austin, Texas.  I attended The University of Texas at Austin from 1993 through 1997, graduating with a B.A. in government and a minor in history.  I have been in the homebuilding industry since 2001 as a Construction Manager.  My family and I have lived in the Fort Worth/Keller area since 2005.  My wife works at Texas Health Resources as a recruiter in Fort Worth.  My oldest daughter, Kaylee (10), attends Timberview Middle School and my younger daughter, Savannah (6), attends Bette Perot Elementary School.  I have been a Watch D.O.G. (Dad’s On Guard) on several occasions.  I am KISD Community Ambassador.  I am also currently serving on the Keller ISD Citizens’ Bond Advisory Board.

2.  What three issues do you think are the most important facing the district?  Please explain.

There are three issues that will be affecting Keller ISD in the near future.  One, the Bond issue is critical to the future of KISD.  Of course the board itself cannot advocate on its behalf but with a vote to place the issue before the voters, their support is something that may be assumed.  This bond will give KISD the necessary funds for much needed improvements to existing facilities as well as provide for the construction of a new Career and Technology Education Building.  This is essential for KISD to be competitive among area schools.  The second issue is that of school funding.  The current school funding formula is antiquated and inadequate.  Keller ISD participated in a lawsuit against the state making those charges as well.  There is a high probably that this lawsuit will be ruled in favor of KISD (as well as other ISD’s that participated).   If that happens, we need individuals, like myself, who are versed in the way of school funding so that we can do our best to make sure that area Keller kids get an equitable share of state funding.  The last challenge that I feel is ahead for Keller is the changing demographics of KISD.  The fastest growing demographic being, economically disadvantaged – 22% of KISD students.  KISD has not adjusted to this as quickly as it risen.  These kids require more resources to educate.  I want to be their advocate.

3.  How will you as a board member ensure input from community members, parents, teachers and business is heard and acted upon?

Sometimes, being a school board member is a thankless job.  It requires an extreme amount of listening.  You will get good input and sometimes not so good input.  But the most important part of a school board member is to listen very carefully on what the community wants, weigh that with the best interests of KISD kids, and act accordingly. 

4.  As a board member, what would you see as the board’s role in providing competitive salaries and benefits for its employees?

With rising competition from the public and private education, it is extremely important to offer aggressive salaries to our teachers.  Being a teacher is a tough job.  It is not an 8 am to 3 pm job.  It is not an August through May job.  The demands put on today’s teachers require you to find talented, dedicated individuals for those roles.  You have to pay competitive wages in order to get that.  Texas as a state ranks 40% among the other states for teacher compensation and they rank last in the nation for contributions towards teacher benefits.  We have to try and do better at KISD.

5.  As a board member how would you expect the district to handle an employee who needs improvement?

In today’s workforce, I do not like to see anyone lose their job no matter what their profession.  For teachers, they work hard for years to go to college and to get their certification in order to enter the trade.  This is not a profession that you go into to attain wealth.  They have to do this for the passion of education.  These teachers spend more time in the day with our kids than some parents get to.  But again, the demands have never been higher on teachers as a whole today.  So it is important to let our teachers know how important they are to the success of KISD and how they fit into the big picture of things in the district.  If an individual teacher is underperforming, it is important for administration to step in and see how they can assist them.  Is it switching them to a different location?  A different grade?  How can we help that struggling teacher?  Simply approaching a teacher who is under performing and chastising that person, reprimanding, or “writing-up” will only produce animosity and create a toxic work environment for others.  I want to have an environment that Keller is a school district where teachers know that they will get the support they need to succeed.

6.  Please discuss any other issue you feel is relevant to your election to the Board of Trustees.

There is something else that I would like to address.  I am a public education advocate.   Article 7, Section 1 of the Texas Constitution clearly states that, “it shall be the duty of the Legislature of the State to establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools.”  There is very little room for interpretation on this.  There are no asterisks.  Any money diverted from public schools to go anywhere else, is against the Texas Constitution.  I am the product of Texas public education, from kindergarten through college.  I am a believer in the public education system.  I reject the argument that our public education system is a failure.  That is insulting to hundreds of KISD employees and students that are everyday success stories.   My two daughters are in our public education system and I confidently send them to KISD schools.  Of course, there can always be room for improvement.  But that is where is it so critical to have a Board of Trustee member who believes in public education.  If you have a supportive School Board, the sky is the limit on what that school district can accomplish.