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Clear Creek incumbents seek re-election

January 29, 2019

Two trustee incumbents seeking re-election in Clear Creek ISD both cite school safety, accountability and advocating for more state funding as high priorities if they win new terms.

So far in filings for the two board positions that are open for election, only trustees Laura DuPont in District 1 and Ann Hammond in at-large Position B have registered as candidates.

In May 2016, the regular election was canceled when DuPont and Hammond ran unopposed for their previous three-year terms on the seven-member board. The deadline to file candidacy for the board is Feb. 15.

Both incumbents said state funding will be key for issues such as campus security, and they criticized the Texas Education Agency’s A-F grading system for schools and districts as unsatisfactory.

“CCISD is always upgrading safety priorities and programs, most recently hiring additional student support counselors and officers for our secondary schools,” said DuPont, an engineer who was first elected in 2013. “We would like the state to help support districts in these ongoing efforts.”

Hammond, a retired program analyst at NASA who was first elected in 2007 said she, too, will continue pushing for more state funding help regarding school safety.

“All board members have attended meetings with our elected officials and expressed concern and have requested that they address these safety needs,” Hammond said. “While we, as a board, have voted to allocate funds for additional counselors and security officers on our campuses, we’d like very much to have the state reimburse us for this or at least provide a good amount toward helping us provide for more safety improvements.”

DuPont, 55, the board’s vice president, has lived in League City for over 25 years and has three children who attend district schools. She is in her sixth year as a trustee.

Hammond, 72, is serving in her fourth consecutive term as a CCISD trustee. She has been a Clear Lake-area resident for more than 40 years, and both of her children are graduates of CCISD.

“I have always considered myself an advocate for children long before I became a board member; I still feel that I am an advocate for them,” Hammond said.

Both trustees cite the importance for the state to develop a school accountability system that is better representative of the district.

The TEA system unveiled last year takes standardized test scores, student progress, graduate rates and academic performance in relation to poverty rates into account when determining letter-grade scores for districts and schools. CCISD scored an “A,” or a score of 92 out of 100, but the board and Superintendent Greg Smith criticized the new system as being too tied to state assessment exams. The district’s leaders advocated for an approach such as Clear Creek’s own “Community-based Accountability Report,” which takes into account quality of the teaching staff, strength of curriculum and courses, level of student engagement in the arts and athletics, high performance on college entrance exams and career readiness.

Of Clear Creek ISD’s 44 campuses that were given unofficial scores, seven scored below 80. At the campus level, schools will not receive official letter grades until this year.

“We will always be advocating for a community-based accountability system that places more emphasis on local accountability and the things that are important to our community, rather than the (Texas Education Agency’s) current misleading and non-improvement-based A-F rating system,” DuPont said.

Hammond echoed DuPont’s stance.

“We believe in a community-based accountability system that reflects the community and school district, not an A-F system that is so complex that no one can relate to that ‘assigned’ letter grade,” she said.

DuPont encourages voters to understand the importance in participating in the May election.

“People should always seek to understand what is happening in their schools and in public education so they can ensure the focus is always on supporting the children and improving learning processes and operations,” she said.

The district will accept candidate applications from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on regular business days through 5 p.m. Feb. 15.

To apply for a position on the ballot, pick up an application and information packet at the CCISD Education Support Center, 2425 E. Main St., League City. Prospective candidates can also request an application and information packet via email form from Jena Brown at jenabrown@ccisd.net

yorozco@hcnonline.com

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