Members of the Board of Trustees govern and oversee the school district. Trustees set the vision and goals for the district, oversee the superintendent (who they can fire and hire), and adopt the annual tax rate and operating budget. This is an unpaid, nonpartisan position. Trustees serve four-year terms. You can find the YISD trustee district boundaries by clicking HERE. Click HERE to view a personalized sample ballot.
Who’s running for this seat?
Mike Dwyer, 67, is a retired Ysleta Independent School District teacher.
Mike Rosales, 79, is an insurance agent and a current YISD board trustee.
Candidates were asked to limit their responses to 100 words. Responses have been lightly edited for grammar.
What experience do you have with curriculum, overseeing budgets, or setting and analyzing policy? Please explain.
Mike Dwyer: As an astronomy teacher for Bel Air High School in the Ysleta district for 26 years, I was allowed to develop my own curriculum. This gave me an understanding of what is required in a curriculum. I consistently discussed and implemented policies with my colleagues in the science department. As the head coach for the Bel Air golf team as well as a varsity coach for basketball, I was very familiar with overseeing budgets and setting policy with parents and students within school guidelines.
Mike Rosales: That’s what I’ve been doing for the last eight years as an Ysleta board member, overseeing budgets and establishing policy for the district. I also served on the board of Project Amistad where we had to set the budget and policies; plus I was one of the founders of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
What are your budget priorities and how would you balance funding those priorities while keeping property taxes in check?
Mike Dwyer: Budget priorities are making sure every student in the district has whatever they need to be successful as well as making sure teachers have what they need to make their classrooms successful. It is also important to make sure teachers are receiving pay raises on a yearly basis. My wife and I are both retired, therefore we live on a fixed income. When it comes to the district budget, I will make sure the district lives within its means.
Mike Rosales: The priority is always to be prudent with spending and keeping taxes low. We on the board are given the responsibility to adopt policy and the budget. Our authority is to hire and fire the superintendent and by holding administration accountable, we can be prudent.
What recommendations would you make for the district to recruit and retain quality teachers and other employees?
Mike Dwyer: I will always vote in favor of teacher pay raises. I will make sure teachers and other employee’s salaries are comparable to the other top districts in the state. I will also look for ways to streamline and condense teacher’s responsibilities so they can focus on the main thing-teaching. This includes ensuring that teachers have an uninterrupted planning period to allow for creativity in their teaching style. It’s also important to protect teachers’ uninterrupted vacation time.
Mike Rosales: I feel that the quality of our teachers right now is very good. Our job is not to hire and fire teachers but to make sure HR is doing a good job, and the HR department in Ysleta right now is of high quality. However, if a teacher is not performing, then we have to make tough decisions.
How would you address the district’s enrollment trends?
Mike Dwyer: With open enrollment, parents and students will desire to come to YISD. YISD has schools and facilities that are now state-of-the-art, increasing appeal for enrollment. The district must continue to focus on core curriculum as well as the many career Pathways, Early College, and magnet programs, (such as health professions, vocational, engineering, technology, T-Stem, and STEM) preparing students for college and life. Also, extra curricular activities should continue to be a priority for YISD.
Mike Rosales: That is a very difficult question. Years ago, areas like Ysleta and Riverside, were booming with students. Now, the demographics there have changed and those areas are losing population. We need some economic development in those areas to bring back the demographics.
How would you respond to special interest groups or parents who want to limit access to existing curriculum or library books they perceive to be in conflict with their personal beliefs?
Mike Dwyer: The Texas Education Agency is responsible for curriculum in all public schools. The Ysleta school district has always been very responsible in their choice of curriculum and library books, and so has had no problem with special interest groups or parents. The Ysleta district’s focus is on education, and should remain so.
Mike Rosales: In today’s environment parents should be give an opportunity to express their concerns and offer ideas. We need a policy to allow parents to provide true feedback and we need sincere approach to discuss their concerns. However, we are the board and we must rely on our administration’s recommendations for what we need to do. But we must listen to the taxpayer.
Aside from free breakfast/lunch programs and after-school care through partner organizations, what other resources and social services should schools offer the community to help ensure overall student success?
Mike Dwyer: The Ysleta district is known for its various after school activities. Ysleta offers opportunities to participate in fine arts, robotics, ethnic clubs, athletics, social clubs, and tutoring for their students. The district also offers classes for their parents, as well as the home access center and school counseling family resources. YISD realizes that when students and parents are involved, statistically, the students have higher success rates.
Mike Rosales: When I look at the Ysleta district, I know our funds are limited so I’m not sure how much more extra we can provide. However, 12% of our enrollment is special needs and we must continue doing a great job to serve them. We currently take care of that population real well, and we must continue doing so while giving parents the accessibility to see how we are caring for their children.
Teacher pay raises, Senate Bill 8 and construction of Union Draft House across Eastwood High School are at the forefront of the District 4 race in the Ysleta Independent School District.