70° F Tuesday, May 30, 2017

By Lauri Zachry
Pflag reporter

Place 3 Pflugerville school board incumbent Mario Acosta and challenger Tony Hanson have said at recent candidate forums they are committed to serving the children in the school district. The pair only differ in their techniques and goals associated with doing so.

Acosta, a one-term board member, currently works as a program specialist for Texas Education Agency. Before joining the TEA staff, he served as principal of Parmer Lane Elementary for five years. Acosta has 36 years of educational experience.

“I have really enjoyed working with the current school board members,” he said. “I think we have done some good things by looking at the systems and processes we have in place and making those work for the students and staff of Pflugerville ISD. I have a 360-degree view of what it takes to make a district and a campus successful. That experience allows me to be very knowledgeable of changes that may need to occur to make our campuses successful.”

Hanson has lived in Pflugerville for 18 years. He works as a senior internal auditor for the Texas General Land Office. He and his wife, Kim, have two daughters who attend Pflugerville schools.

He is also a founding member of the school district’s Mentoring Encouraging and Nurturing organization. MEN began in 2006 as an organization in which fathers and grandfathers volunteer in Pflugerville schools.

“I’m committed to our youth,” Hanson said. “I want to give back to this community by serving on the Pflugerville ISD school board Place 3. I want to be an advocate for students and be connected and involved in my community.

“I see running for school board as a progression of the things I’ve already been doing. I just thought this would be a great time to run.”

Acosta noted selecting a new superintendent, passing another school bond in the future and dealing with changing demographics as matters to be faced by the school board in the near future.

“We need to look at building a fourth high school in the future,” he said. “We have a committee that is looking at this and other alternatives to building a new high school for the time being. We’re working with the City Council to make sure the location we choose for the fourth high school is in agreement with the city’s plans for growth. We want to work together and create an infrastructure for the high school that would be beneficial and cost-effective for the city and the school district.”

“Our demographics are changing and we need to address the needs of our English language learners and economically disadvantaged students,” Acosta said. “We need to be prepared and make sure those students don’t fall through the cracks.”

Hanson agreed with Acosta finding a new superintendent and building another high school are issues that must be dealt with in the future.

“We need to make sure each child gets the quality education they need,” he said.

Hanson said some other goals he would like to see accomplished if elected are: live streaming school board meetings online, making financial reports more readily available and conducting annual risk assessments in the district.

Early voting for the May 11 election began April 29 and continues through May 7.

Board members serve three-year, staggered terms. Other trustees are: Elva Gladney, president; Cynthia Graves, secretary; Jimmy Don Havins and Rob Reyes.

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