Dripping Springs residents got some hard questions answered April 9 by DSISD school board candidates Trey Powers, Ron Jones and Barbara Stroud at the Candidate Forum held at Trudy’s Restaurant in Dripping Springs.
The Dripping Springs Democratic Action Group hosted the forum; candidates answered questions submitted both in writing from attendees of the forum as well as questions posed through the forum’s website.
The issues discussed ranged from the vision each candidate has on the future of the DSISD, each candidate’s viewpoint on Senate Bill 6 (SB 6), the bathroom bill and other topics, such as more challenging programs for younger students and the validity of sex education classes.
The candidates all agreed that managing growth was important for the school district and a second high school would soon be necessary in order to maintain the future student body.
“The second high school is in our plans to be here in 2025,” Jones said.
Stroud agreed with Jones that the school district is already preparing for the future need of a second high school in order to accommodate higher attendance numbers.
“Opening a second high school is a big deal,” Stroud said.
Powers seemed reluctant to bolster the idea of a second high school but did stipulate that it would be a necessary addition in the future.
“The reality is that a second high school will happen but I want to postpone it as long as possible,” Powers said. “I moved to a one high school town for a reason.”
Both Stroud and Jones took a stand against the SB 6 Bathroom Bill regarding transgender youth and their bathroom preferences and praised the DSISD school district for the decision it made last year regarding a transgender student using the bathroom of her choice.
“I support the decision the administrators made,” Stroud said. “We don’t have a one size fits all policy, every instance should be handled on a case by case basis.”
Powers showed his support for transgender students and their families by “making every accommodation possible” but said he didn’t believe that the school district should make concessions for one student.
All three candidates mentioned that the biggest concern for the DSISD moving forward in the next five years would be growth and the responsible management of that growth.
The candidates also weighed in on the issue of science-based sex education being taught at DSISD and if that should continue instead of an abstinence approach.
Jones said that, while he believes the sex education topic should be primarily taught by parents at home instead of the administrators, he supported the sex education classes.
“I believe this is a parent issue more than an education issue,” Jones said, “Really it’s a parent’s job to do that.”
Powers agreed with Jones that it is parents’ jobs to educate their children about sex and declined to answer the question regarding his support of the program being taught at DSISD.
Stroud once again agreed with Jones but said that she supports the Abstinence + program of sex education and that the district’s Health Advisory Council exists to review the sex education curriculum every three years to ensure the lessons are up to date.
In closing statements the candidates emphasized that the DSISD is doing a great job as one of the most successful districts in the area but that continuing to innovate and succeed is important moving forward.
“I’m not running because there needs to be ‘change’. I’m running because I have a passion to serve and I think I can be of assistance on the school board,” Powers said.
“I have enjoyed serving and would like to continue to do so and to see the success of this incredible school district moving forward,” Jones said.
“We are a productive school board already and I want to continue to serve and see the school board continue to succeed,” Stroud said.
Don’t forget to vote
Early voting for the Dripping Springs Independent School District Board of Trustees election will begin on Monday, April 24, and continue through the following Tuesday, May 2, at the DSISD Administration Building located at 510 W. Mercer Street.
Three candidates have filed to run for two positions on the DSISD Board (in ballot order): Ron Jones, Barbara Stroud, and Trey Powers. All are at-large positions.
EARLY VOTING SCHEDULE
Monday, April 24, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Tuesday, April 25-Friday, April 28, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturday, April 29, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Monday, May 1, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Currently, the positions are held by Jones and Stroud.
Election Day is scheduled for Saturday, May 6, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The voting location for Precincts 333, 337, 440, 441 and 449 is the DSISD Administration Building.
Precincts 236, 238, 442, 443, and 444 will cast ballots at Sunset Canyon Baptist Church, which is located at 4400 Highway 290 West.
For more information on voting schedules or the candidates, please visit the DSISD website at www.dsisd.txed.net.