By CASSIE MCKEE, Four Points News
Two incumbent Leander ISD Board of Trustee members are being challenged for their seats in the upcoming election scheduled for Saturday, May 9. Early voting will begin April 27.
Voters will decide on the Place 1 seat, currently held by Lisa Mallory, and the Place 2 seat, held by Don Hisle. All school board positions are three-year terms and represent the entire school district.
The Leander ISD Board of Trustees is elected to govern and set policy for the district. One of the board’s responsibilities is to select the superintendent, who serves as the district’s chief executive officer. Together, the Board of Trustees and superintendent form Leander ISD’s “Governance Team.”
Lisa Mallory was first elected to the Leander ISD Board of Trustees in May of 2009. As a board member, Mallory said one of her priorities is to serve as a watchdog for taxpayers by monitoring the district’s spending.
“There is a growing concern in the district, given the current economic climate, that the growth projections made at the time the taxpayers approved over $850 million worth of bonds at the peak of the housing bubble, may not continue to trend as projected,” Mallory said on her campaign website.
“(I) will serve a dual role on the board – both as the parent’s advocate, to ensure that new schools necessary to handle the district’s growth are approved and funded, and also as the taxpayers advocate, to ensure that new bonds are issued only as needed in response to legitimate needs,” she states.
Mallory has more than 30 years of business management experience and served for more than 11 years as vice president of a 70-person family-owned project management consulting firm. She has as a degree in sociology from the University of California at Los Angeles and has worked in business, technology, construction, law and real estate throughout her professional career.
She is the mother of three children with the youngest a student at Vandegrift High School.
For more information on Mallory, visit www.lisafortexas.com.
Challenging Mallory for her Place 1 seat is Trish Bode. If elected, she said she would also work to ensure tax dollars are used wisely to educate our children and to keep class sizes small.
“With two children in the district’s schools, I want to serve my community and the parents and children of Leander ISD,” Bode said. “As a former Legislative Action Chair in the PTA and volunteer on the campuses I believe parents can be empowered to help their school district.”
For the last eight years, Bode, who lives in Steiner Ranch, has worked in corporate communications where she established new procedures and communication systems to move massive policy information and details, spotlighting areas of concerns to the public where people could come together to develop concise, targeted and meaningful input to enact real change.
She said she wants to ensure that the district communicates to parents when the bus is late or the curriculum is changing. She said the district must be transparent to taxpayers and engage them in school policy.
“I am running for the Leander Independent School District Board of Trustees place 1 because I want to bring that same successful communication strategy and skill set to our community to improve transparency, create opportunities for community dialogue, and ensure that the district keeps our students priority number one,” Bode said.
For more information on Bode, visit www.trishforlisd.com.
Place 2 incumbent Don Hisle was appointed to the LISD Board in August 1995 to fill an un-expired term, and elected to a one-year term in May 1996. Hisle has served on the LISD school board, as well as in various officer capacities, since 1996. He said his biggest strengths as a board member are his experience, knowledge, dedication and the ability to work collaboratively with the entire board.
“I am approaching 20 years as a board member of Leander ISD and spend many hours involved with different activities in the district on all levels,” Hisle said. “I have been on the Leander ISD Education Excellence Foundation for the past five years, helping to provide additional funds for our teachers to help them with extra tools for learning and to provide grants to ACC for books that some of the students that enter from our district can’t afford.”
As a board member, he feels that one of the most important areas of accomplishments has been closing the achievement gap while simultaneously raising ACT and SAT scores and increasing the number of students in advanced courses.
“Our district continues to lead the state in all aspects of testing scores and is near the top in the region and continues to improve,” he said. “My tenured experience and knowledge of the district gives me the ability to lead the district to higher achievements and successes while working in unison with the entire board.”
If re-elected, he said his biggest priority will be to continue to work on LISD’s path of academic excellence, while focusing on the financial side of the district.
Hisle is a retired IBM manager and is currently working as an investor in the housing industry. He and his wife, Ruth, have lived in the Shenandoah neighborhood in Cedar Park for more than 40 years. They have two children who graduated from Leander High School, and five grandchildren who attend LISD schools.
For more information on Hisle, visit his Facebook page “Don Hisle for LISD School Board Place 2.”
Challenging Hisle for his seat is Cedar Park resident Cobby Caputo. Caputo has worked for more than 25 years as an attorney representing school districts and has worked for six years as an adjunct professor of education law. Caputo also served as a member of the Cedar Park City Council from 1996-2002 and from 2005-2010.
He said if elected, his number one priority would be addressing the district’s long-term debt.
“The District today finds itself with over $3.5 billion of long-term debt,” Caputo said. “New schools cost money, and new facilities are not inexpensive. Leander ISD seems to have found the most expensive way possible to finance the construction of its new schools. The District has a total of $1.111 billion in outstanding principal bond debt. However, the interest and capital appreciation on that debt totals to an astounding $2.384 billion. This means the total indebtedness of the Leander Independent School District as of today is an unconscionable $3,495,488,326.16.”
Caputo said over the years, he has learned a lot of lessons about how local government can best serve its citizens and constituents. His basic philosophy is that if the elected officials will trust the citizens and the voters, they will best serve their community.
“In order to keep the trust of the citizens, the elected officials need to do everything possible to be open and transparent, and to have a vigorous and public debate on issues,” Caputo said. “The best policy choices, and the best decisions, will usually emerge out of debate and dialogue.”
Caputo has lived in Leander ISD since 1988, and has been involved in the district as a parent and volunteer. He has three children, all of whom graduated from the district, and he has been a volunteer with the Faubion PTA, numerous LISD Bond Task Forces and the Attendance Zone Committee. As a member of the Cedar Park City Council, he interacted regularly with school district officials.
For more information on Caputo, visit his Facebook page “Cobby Caputo for Leander ISD Board of Trustees.”