Letter to the Editor: You can observe Katy ISD’s weaknesses just by watching the School Board

 

The following letter to the editor was submitted by parent and education watchdog Kim Belcher Gutierrez. 

The Katy community, at a minimum, should observe how our education resources are being utilized and by whom. Preferably, constituents would engage, but observation would be an improvement at this point.

Most telling aspect of the most recent Katy school board meeting (Click to watch the video) was how the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) facilitator, Dr. Bill Rutherford, attempts to drive the direction of the end result. It is not as blatant as some that we have seen, but it is obvious, just the same. Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) and TASB are far too engrained in our policy and culture.

Katy Independent School District Board of Trustees member Bryan Michalsky continues to cause concern as he again tries to distance the board from accountability for the curriculum and academics in the district. While those items are the superintendent’s charge, the superintendent is the employee of the board. I also was not sure of Michalsky’s intent in striking out at George Scott regarding public information being available to trustees. What is the issue?

It is worth noting that Scott is the first BOT member during my years in Katy that I recall asking for real accountability reporting. It is high time that someone ask questions about the effect that the dozens of benchmarks performed by the district are having (or not having) on student performance.

It was somewhat frustrating to see several members put on the charade that they love for the public to come forward in open forum. That is not the message they have conveyed through their actions over the past few years.

While Katy ISD Superintendent Dr. Lance HIndt’s perspective on the reform curriculum and his choice of contracting Engage2Learn is concerning, we must give him due credit for being able to cut to the chase in these meetings. It is nice to see a grown-up in the room.

The most entertaining part of the event was BOT member and TASB board member Henry Dibrell. Dibrell spent the better part of his first years on the board carrying the water of former Superintendent Alton Frailey only to throw him under the bus for the sake of campaigning, by alluding that the change in superintendents was the reason he decided to seek re-election this term. Well played, Henry.

Dibrell didn’t miss any opportunities to poke fun at Scott, either.

There is nothing earth shattering in this particular recording, but it gives constituents the ability to see members interact with one another and understand how decisions are made.

In this day when academics are being undermined and the shift is occurring from knowledge-based education to social/emotional training, everyone should be keeping a close eye on what is happening,  with the people who manage our local schools.

Kim Gutierrez, parent
https://mykidzliberty.wordpress.com/

6 Comments

  1. If you use participation in school board elections the overwhelming number of taxpayers don’t care about our $700,000 school system. KISD has about 100,000 registered voters and a big school board election will bring out 5,000 voters. That is TERRIBLE. People don’t care about how their property taxes are spent.

  2. Kim Belcher Gutierrez claims to be a “watchdog” but does little more than whine and bloviate. Run for school board if you think you can do better. You clearly have the time. But snarky comments on Facebook behind your keyboard just make you another loud mouth critic. “watchdog?” FFS.

    1. Mr. Aswad please! Thats the pot calling the kettle cast iron. You have consistently been one of the biggest bullies who comments on Covering Katy.

  3. Kim is so right about the vast majority of us being asleep at the wheel. When you have a voter turnout of 3 – 5% for school board elections, when most teachers can’t name more than two or three board members and many of them can’t name ONE, and when you consider that we parents entrust our children to the district and our money to the district’s tax man without a clue about what is actually going on in the classrooms, you have to wonder where we went wrong.

    Compared to other districts,Katy ISD is a good public school district but it can be so much better. It is a V-8 engine running on three or five cylinders most of the time. We don’t want to be as good as poorer districts, we don’t want to be as good as some of the better run districts, we want and deserve to be leading the pack not following the herd which is what we do so often.

    Bryan ran for the school board saying he was for transparency and accountability. Three years later when he ran for re-election he said they (the school board) were still trying to come up with a score card for evaluating the superintendent. Later when he was president of the board, the progress was still non existent.

    Henry is an empty shirt who mugs for all the pictures he can get in but has not offered ONE item for board action that would advance the quality of education in our district, he will of course want another term in office. What he really wants to do is run for another political office and sees being on the school board as an opportunity to remain in the eyes of people he considers important to his objective.

    Scott is the only person asking the hard questions and demanding answers and that makes the rest of them uncomfortable. The only other person I might recommend for re-election is Griffin who recently seems to have seen the light and is working with Scott to some extent.

    Katy ISD………so much potential…………. so much untapped greatness………… keeping up with the Jones seems to be the motto especially when building stadiums.

    Three seats are up for election this May and Henry wants to lay claim to one. Honestly all three seats need to turn if we want to see serious improvement. Do you think any of the three of them will want to respond to this letter and point out the error of our ways with some facts to the contrary?

  4. The school board and every one involved in the running of KISD should be held accountable. If that were the case the school taxes might show a decrease. The rate of property tax for KISD is outrageous. There has to be waste somewhere and exhorbatant frivolous spending somewhere, I am over 65 , in fact, 82 and I get very little break on school tax. It is approximately 15% of appraised value. Many districts give 30%. Katy needs to concentrate on waste and wasteful programs. People who have no children in the schools should be given a big break in school tax.

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