Weatherford Democrat

April 25, 2013

Q&A: Weatherford ISD Board of Trustees – Place 3


Weatherford Democrat

Name: Ashley Duncan Conlon

Age: 39

Occupation: regional manager, CENTURY 21 Judge Fite Company

Family: My husband, Bryan, and I have two daughters who attend WISD, Clara, 10, and Taylor, 8. My parents, Jim and Susan Duncan, are great supports and help with our children when I attend meetings.

Why are you running for running for school board?

Education has always been a key ingredient in my life. Because of this I am committed to investing in all of our children and the future of our community. I am honored to serve the citizens who have given so much to my family and me.

Any prior experience running for office?

While I’ve not been involved in a con tested race for myself, I’ve participated in many elections in an effort to elect the best to office. While in college I had the opportunity to intern for Former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and worked on her campaign.

Are you in favor of the proposed $107.32 million bond? Why or why not?

I’m in favor of what the bond package accomplishes for our students and our community. Classroom space is maxed out at several elementary campuses, the Ninth Grade Center is under utilized. We need to maximize the benefits of our existing assets while adding strategic assets that best position our community for the future.

Consolidating grades 9-12 on one campus is the most-efficient solution. The new facility to equip our students for careers in auto-mechanics, computer technology and networking, agriculture, nursing, cosmetology, criminal justice and culinary arts, to mention a few, is critical in preparing the future workforce to meet the needs of our community.

Safety on each campus is a primary concern to all. The bond addresses this. Efficient facilities have an immediate positive impact on the district’s operating budget. Equally important, bond rates are low at this time. This saves taxpayers money in the long run. It is vital that we safeguard tax dollars and provide for the best education of the students.

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Name: Randy Hynes

Age: 53

Occupation: owner of Randy Hynes Homes Inc. and Randy Hynes General Contractors Inc.

Family: wife, Julie; sons, Colt, 27, and Spencer, 15

Why are you running for school board?

This is the first question that people ask me. I’m pretty simple, definitely not complicated. I feel like I can bring a different perspective on issues that WISD will face in the near future. I bring a very common-sense approach to the table. With the overcrowding issues and security needs, we face a lot of challenges in the near future.

My son, Colt, was in the first class to graduate from the new high school. We closely watched that project and were told there were some budget oversights. I have been made aware of cuts that were made since my announcement to run for board and I definitely do not agree with those cuts.

With the possibility of the upcoming bond passing or not, I believe my experience in the construction business and the fact that I have always owned by own businesses will bring some much-needed experience and resources should problems arise.

Lastly, I played football in high school. We had a very successful program. No, I was not a star player, just a bench guy. The program yielded three 4-A state championships in four years since moving here in 1985. I have seen good times and bad. Most recently, bad.

Any prior experience running for office?

First time I have a real concern for our community and WISD and the direction things are heading. Maybe a fresh approach will help. I am a common person and I want to see WISD be the absolute best it can be at all levels.

Are you in favor of the proposed $107.32 million bond? Why or why not?

For the most part I am. The overcrowding issues, safety and security issues, technology package and capital improvements are certainly needed. I am not sure I agree with all of the construction projects. I love Weatherford, especially the Main Street area. There is a history there that I believe we need to share with the people that come to Weatherford to watch sporting events.

What I do not understand is why it was fought so hard to keep the football game field in town and now to move other sports and build new facilities at the high school away from the downtown area. I am also a little embarrassed by the visitor side of the football field we currently have. Being a contractor, it looks like it is half-finished.

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Name: Philip Newkirk

Age: 31

Occupation: manager at Carter Surveying & Mapping

Family: Married

Why are you running for running for school board?

As a Christian, conservative and concerned citizen, I feel that it is my duty to play an active role in my local community’s public education. I do not have confidence in a school board that unanimously passed the $107 million dollar bond election.

I want to reinstate fundamentals that are necessary for a child to grow and be a responsible, educated and moral adult. Our quality teachers should be compensated for their hard work. Instead, WISD is listed as having one of the lowest teacher salaries in the Metroplex

Any prior experience running for office?

This is my first time to run for any public office.

Are you in favor of the proposed $107.32 million bond? Why or why not?

Not in favor of the bond. Traditionally, bonds are implemented for capacity issues and therefore used to build new school buildings. In 1999 a $97 million dollar bond was passed and it built the high school and two elementary schools.

This new bond for $107 million dollars does very little for the future population growth of WISD. It is frivolous spending of taxpayer dollars at a time when most citizens are cutting back and spending more wisely. It seems that our school board is not being good stewards of the taxpayers’ money.

There needs to be more time spent considering the best ways possible to keep the children safe in the school while providing the best education possible. Why not let the taxpayers decide on which items to pass and not to pass instead of lumping them all together in one vote?