The first Humble ISD School Board Candidate Forum, was held on Tuesday, March 31, was recorded by Lone Star College-Kingwood and is now available for viewing in two locations. The Humble ISD website has a section in the middle of the main first page titled “Early voting in school board election begins April 27.” At the end of that article are two links to the first and second half of the March 31 candidate forum. The first part is 45 minutes long and the second part is one hour long.
Last Thursday night I had a hard time deciding whether to go to the second and final candidate forum, tossing whether to go or take a nap! I went! Glad I did, I learned a lot more about a couple of our candidates/board members. Keith Lapeze, lawyer, and all around great guy! He gave us some insight into his education and background. Keith received his juris doctorate from Louisiana State University. He was an executive editor of the Louisiana Law Review and graduated near the top of his class, which granted him admission into the most prestigious academic society at the law school, the Order of the Coif.
After law school, Keith clerked for a judge on the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Keith is an experienced corporate defense litigator and is recognized as one of the best young lawyers in the state of Texas. He has been listed as a “Texas Rising Star” every year since the recognition was first published in Texas Monthly magazine, which is only given to the top 5% of the lawyers in Texas.
In addition to his legal experience, Keith was a member of the Louisiana Army National Guard. He served his country while an undergraduate student and received a honorable discharge at the end of his service.
For several years, Keith was a part-time professor at the University of St. Thomas.
“Since I was elected, the district has cut over $18 million dollars from the operating budget. Additionally, I played a large role in making the controversial decision to expand Atascocita High School and Summer Creek High School to put off the expense of opening another new high school. This decision will amount to an ultimate savings of over $100 million, but the cost was to defer projects approved by the voters in Bond 2005 and disregard the proposed 2,400-student limit from the 2003 High Schools of the Future Task Force. While these costs were real, I believed that it is my duty to save taxpayers money wherever I can. When reelected, I will continue my diligence.
Though we have suffered though the difficulties of cuts and financial struggles over the last three years, the district has still excelled. Student scores have continued to improve. Countless numbers of our students have received national, state, and local recognition for their achievements. We were on the cusp of being a Recognized school district last year, and the early data this year is even more promising. I believe that the working relationship between the School Board and the administration is functioning to push Humble I.S.D. to excel in its mission: to educate our students.
I have also worked with my fellow Trustees to form the dialogue with our elected officials on school finance in Texas. Recognizing that the only way to solve the current school finance crisis is through our elected representatives in Austin, district and community volunteers have formed a message that has now been heard far and wide. We can only hope that our officials will take action.
The last three years has been a difficult time for Humble I.S.D., and our School Board is tested and experienced because of it. Now is not the time to change our course. That is why I am asking for your vote to re-elect me as Trustee.”
Dr. Bonnie Longninon, we also learned quite a bit more about her leadership roles (plural). She has been a college administrator at Lone Star College System for over 20 years, joined the Office of External Affairs as associate vice-chancellor for institutional and resource development in April 2003. Longnion is active statewide and in her community as an advocate for education. Longnion joined the Humble ISD School Board in 1988, where she has served as president, vice-president, and secretary. She has served on the Texas Association of School Boards and the Gulf Coast Association of School Boards. Bonnie says;
“I have had the honor and privilege to serve on the Humble ISD school board for 20 ½ years. I have served on numerous committees over the years, and I have served in the role of each office position as least twice. In addition to my service on the Humble ISD board, I additionally served on the Gulf Coast Association of School Boards. I served as the president of the Texas Association of School Boards in 2003-04 serving over 1,030 school districts. I am current president of the Houston YWCA. I am a current member of the American Business Women’s Association. I am past president of FamilyTime and the past president of the Northeast Chapter of the American Heart Association. I am a founding member and secretary of the Greater Houston P-16+ Council.”
Bonnie goes on to say;
“No. 1 issue: The number one issue facing Humble ISD is the crisis the district faces due to the current inequities in the state funding appropriations. There are some encouraging signs that the state legislators are going to address some of the problematic components of the methodology used to fund the state’s portion of school district. I have worked with other board members, community members, students and parents to tell the Humble ISD story. I know that many of the legislators see the inequities and they are doing their best to take responsible action for all school districts in the state. Adequate and equitable funding impacts our programs, salaries, technology and resources needed to provide an excellent learning environment for our students.”
Dan only spoke briefly, he has no challengers!
“I am running for another term to continue to work with our community, to educate our legislators about the inequity of the current funding system. We have dedicated a great deal of time and effort to educate everyone on the issues facing Humble ISD. As a result, we have made progress that we have not seen in years. Moving forward, I believe we need experienced board members to help lead us down the right path. I am committed to providing solutions to this growing problem, and know that in partnership with the community we can make a difference for our district.”
Very small turnout, as expected, not much controversy (unless you count the challenger’s mishaps, which Mr. Reed enlightened us in great detail.) So, it also looks like the voter turnout is expected to be very low. Mr. Johnson was not present at the second forum.
If you live in Kingwood and have cable television, The Lone Star College-Kingwood television channel 42 is currently showing both parts of the forum. For the viewing schedule, see http://kingwood.lonestar.edu/28698/. Look for Board Forum 1 and Board Forum 2 to see when the program is showing.
Both of these viewing options give you a chance to see and hear the five candidates for the three school board positions open for election this May 9. Even if you can’t watch all of the programs, please try to see some part of the presentation. Dr. Sconzo also has a brief, five-minute, presentation on school finance at the start of the first part.
Thank you for your interest in our school district and in becoming an informed voter. Please be aware that early voting began on April 27.
So, if you can…go vote!