This year’s election is a big one for Louise ISD with more than half of its trustees up for election and all positions contested.

The school board positions on this year’s ballot are 2, 5, 6 and 7, currently filled by Board Vice President Alfred Ochoa Jr., Secretary Pro Tem Amanda Cox, Board President Linda Alderson and Jay Heard, respectively.

Ochoa, who has served as a trustee since 2012, will not be running for re-election in November, so Sonny Gonzalez and Chad Hajovsky will compete for position 2. Eldon Penner is challenging Cox, Stephen Lutringer is opposing Alderson and Ricky Wendel is up against Heard.

Early voting began Tuesday and the General Election will take place on Nov. 3.

Position 2

Gonzalez has served as a police officer in El Campo for 24 years and has two children who are enrolled at LISD. He has attended city council and school board meetings over the years.

Hajovsky graduated from LISD and one of his three children is attending Louise schools this year. He runs a farm with his brothers and has a bachelor’s degree in ag business.

Position 5

Joining the LISD school board in 2018, Cox attended LISD schools like her children do now. She also serves as the second vice president for the Louise-Hillje Chamber of Commerce.

Penner owns electrical contracting company Hobo Electric, LLC. He has worked as an electrician his whole life and previously served as a parochial school board member.

Position 6

Alderson joined the board in 2012, becoming president in 2018. She worked as a speech teacher and debate coach for 35 years and serves on local speech and education committees.

Lutringer is a residential and commercial lead tech and job supervisor at an air conditioning service company. He has three grown children who graduated from LISD and is a Louise native.

Position 7

Sworn in as an LISD trustee in 1998, Heard is the longest serving incumbent. He is a Louise native, and his daughter was the fourth generation of Heard’s family to graduate from LISD.

Wendel lives in Hillje and has a son who attends LISD. He owns Wendel Electric, which he opened in 2012, and he is involved with the Knights of Columbus and El Campo’s Little League.

 

How will you prioritize the students’ needs and the quality of their education at LISD?

 

Gonzalez, 2:

 

I think that the children’s needs and quality of their education should be our number one priority ... My main concern as a school board member would be to help get the children the best educational experience possible. I think that by getting and keeping great teachers is very important. Doing both those things and maintaining a balanced budget, while making as many improvements to the existing facilities, should be everyone‘s priority.

 

Hajovsky, 2:

 

I think we need to make sure the teachers have the necessary tools to properly implement their curriculum.

 

Cox, (i), 5:

 

I have two children that attend LISD, and this not only gives me a front row seat to anything going on, but reminds me exactly how important the decisions I make are. The current board members have clicked so well. We have  made very tough, but important choices that I am proud of. I hope that the outcome of November’s vote provides the same experience. 

 

 

Penner, 5:

 

The school is a vital part of our community. What makes up the body of school? – students. Their education is the basic and true purpose of our school. All programs including curriculum, sports, programs, etc. must be subject to this grade stick.

 

Alderson, (i), 6:

 

We need to address the needs of all students ... with our current mission statement: “Educate the Whole Child.” We recently approved a District of Innovation resolution where we can hire individuals to teach Career and Technology courses without certification or full-time employment … Our students need to be prepared for college through courses like our dual credit biology course that is taught by one of our own teachers, the military, and the workforce.

 

Lutringer, 6:

 

If elected, my goals would be to become an active member who helps improve policies for the district, helps build a strong network among the educators in the district, works on obtaining more tools and technology to help improve student achievement and provide them with more opportunities. I would be a member who listens to their constituents.

 

Heard, (i), 7:

 

By looking into the world that our students will be graduating into, I will focus on quality of academics and vocational programs that will prepare our students for a successful future.

 

Wendel, 7:

 

The needs of students and quality of education is the main focus of any school district. Obviously, the quality of education a student receives is always top priority. Individual student needs and concerns should each be taken into consideration separately to determine the best outcome for the student and student body as a whole.

 

LISD’s dress code has come up a few times this year, with students asking specifically for a change in the rules about boys’ hair length. Would you support updating the dress code?

 

Gonzalez, 2:

 

I would support a change in the dress code. I don’t think a boys’ hair would interfere with anyone’s ability to get a quality education.

 

Hajovsky, 2:

 

I feel as though the dress code is there for a reason. The purpose of the dress code is so the students are in an environment with minimal distractions. When students graduate from high school and go out into the real world they are free to express themselves in any way they see fit.

 

Cox, (i), 5:

 

As long as the students hair and appearance isn’t distracting, I am supportive of updating the dresscode. 

 

Penner, 5:

 

Whenever there is policy, those in charge need to consider if the policy is working or not working. All true requests of policy needing change should be considered — however policy has a purpose of consistency and cannot be changed for whim or frivolous requests.

 

Alderson, (i), 6:

 

I support considering student recommendations for updating the dress code in the future. However, the dress code is part of the Student Handbook, and we do not approve that document. That is a document created and approved by administrators with board recommendations.

Lutringer, 6:

 

Lutringer did not send a response to this question in time for publication.

 

Heard, (i), 7:

 

LISD already has dress code in place that I feel is fair for both boys and girls.

 

Wendel, 7:

 

I attended two separate schools when I was in high school ... I never noticed any difference in the quality of teaching or learning that would have been defined by the clothes a student wore or the length or style of their hair. Of course, those were much different times back then. That being said, I would have to refrain from taking a side on the matter at this time until ... I hear the arguments from both sides to make any further decisions.

 

Solar farm abatement agreements have been a controversial issue in the past for the Louise community. What do you think about the current solar farm project agreements LISD has and would you be open to more in the future?

 

Gonzalez, 2:

 

I agree with the current solar panel abatement agreements because it will effectively help the school. I believe that any project that can help the school financially is a good idea with the exception of wind turbines.

Hajovsky, 2:

 

I personally am not open to any more tax abatements for solar farms, because tax abatements were designed to create jobs for the long term. The current tax abatements that are already approved are not creating jobs but taking jobs away from people.

 

Cox, (i), 5:

 

I voted in favor of the Hecate solar farm agreement, but voted against the other projects.

 

Penner, 5:

 

Our county needs a larger tax base for the future of our community. This will take some of the tax burden off of family homes and businesses. However solar projects do not have the best track record and are suspect in keeping promises made in regards to continuous working, profitable and jobs secure.

 

Alderson, (i), 6:

 

I spent three months researching the pros and cons of the (solar) projects. I talked with people who supported and those who were opposed. I talked to schools across the state that have 313 agreements … I believe in some diversity and taxpayer equity for those individuals, which the 313 agreement would provide. I also accept the importance of property rights for the landowners. I am not interested in entertaining any more solar farm applications.

Lutringer, 6:

 

Lutringer did not send a response to this question in time for publication.

 

Heard, (i), 7:

 

I am not in favor of any abatements for businesses that do not bring a substantial amount of jobs to the community or county. Solar farms only deplete the economy of a community and add little or nothing in return. There are two additional solar companies that have had their applications approved by the state that want to locate in our district. If asked to approve abatements for these companies I will be voting no.

 

Wendel, 7:

 

Being a business owner, I can understand the viewpoints of the land owners surrounding the area and the farms who believe the solar farm will impede on their farmland and livelyhoods. As a parent of a child at LISD, I also have to want what’s best for them and the quality of their education and experience while attending school, all those things being largely funded by local tax dollars ... I would have to hear from all parties involved.

 

LISD trustee terms last four years, and a board election is held every two years. Board positions held by Secretary Mark Bain, Marco Munos and Chris Faas, will be under election in 2022.

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