Tag Archives: PISD

Pearland ISD Position 7 Candidate discusses local issues



Pearland ISD has three Trustee positions up for re-election on May 7. Rebecca Decker, who sits in Position 5, is running unopposed as is Lance Botkin, who holds Position 6. Pam Boegler is giving up her seat in Position 7, and hopefuls Jeffrey Barry and Kelvin Williams are both running to take her place.

We sent questionnaires to Barry and Williams. As of press time, Williams had not responded. Barry’s responses are outlined below.

Q1: Why did you decide to run for the Board of Trustees?

I want to continue to give all of PISD’s students the best opportunity to excel, either in academics or trades, so that they can start their lives being given every opportunity to be higher than average wage earners wherever they go.

Q2: What is your campaign platform’s most important issue?

We really have three issues that I like to include together: Academic excellence, teacher retention and fiscal responsibility. I believe that all three of these issues share the number one position in my campaign.

Q3: There have been issues that have historically come up during election time. What are your ideas about overcrowding and what are some realistic ideas to deal with it?

Overcrowding is an issue that all growing communities face over time. The District constantly checks zoning areas to make sure that the population of students aren’t concentrated in certain school areas and if there are then they are forced to rezone certain areas. Once those options are exhausted, we must consider expansion of schools and/or new construction.

Q3-1: Financials: A solution to overcrowding is to build new schools, but with the current budget, that can’t happen. What are your ideas for the future?

Without impacting the budget the best thing that we can do is to manage each school’s demographics (number of students within a certain area that attend a particular school) to make sure that our “school zones” are aligned with the student/school count. If these numbers are aligned then, in many cases, new schools are our only option.

Q3-2: Transparency: Do you think there needs to be an improvement here? If so, how would you go about making the Board of Trustees/PISD more transparent?

I think that with all of the Trustee meetings being streamed on TV, saved to the District website and having the agenda posted in advance, allowing anyone to review and choose to make open comments in advance of the meetings is sufficient, but I am open to suggestions in this area.

Q3-3: Technology: some students (and even teachers) can’t afford to buy tablets/laptops. The district doesn’t have the latest classroom technology in every classroom. Do you think this is a problem and if so, what are your ideas about moving toward a solution?

Being that we are in a “technology-driven” world these days, I believe that this needs to be addressed sooner than later. In some cases, the district is using old technology in the classroom. Technology changes faster than every 18 months these days, and if we want our students to be the cream of the crop, we need to figure out how we are going to get them the latest and greatest technology in the classroom. I do know, coming from a technology background, that technology isn’t cheap. I would approach as many technology companies for grants and, potentially, have someone on staff that is focused on technology full time. Since the budget is relatively fixed, I believe that partnering with outside companies is the solution.   The PISD Foundation and the NBCEA may be a short-term viable solution, but for the long term and on a continuous basis, we need to partner with companies like Cisco, HP, Dell, etc. to alleviate a portion of this burden.

Q3-4: Staffing issues: what are your ideas about attracting and keeping quality teachers and staff?

I understand that we live in an area that is very competitive from a teaching perspective. With Alvin ISD growing at a fast rate along with other prominent districts in the area the pool of outstanding teachers is shrinking. Always trying to pay our teachers the most money isn’t the solution. I would think that if we create an atmosphere of being the “best place to work” as far as local area ISDs go, then we will be able to attract and retain the best of the best. Administrative support and oversight is the key to success.

Q4: What in your career history and experience makes you uniquely qualified to serve as a Trustee? What will you bring to the table and what gap will it fill (if any)?

My career spans from technology to insurance, but my most important qualification is being a business owner. I have owned my own business for 12 years and employ five people, so I understand the challenges of managing a budget and making payroll. As a small business owner, I understand the value of a dollar and will take this characteristic onto the Board if elected.

Q5: Do you have any children that attend PISD schools? If so, what are their ages/grades?

I do not; however, that fact gives me a unique advantage due to fact that I can take different approach to issues that come up in the district. I can be completely objective, and my aim is for every student to have the same advantages as all the rest. Because we don’t have children in the district, my wife, Charisse, and I have put a lot of energy into helping the kids that are here.

Q6: One of the major social problems in all school districts is bullying, both in person and cyber bullying. What ideas do you have to cut down the incidences of bullying and what punishments do you believe need to be handed down to children who break the bullying rules?

Bullying is a challenging situation for the district and parents. Our best defense against bullying is awareness for teachers, administrators and parents. Keeping the parents in the loop and “partnering” with parents will be the first step to a successful resolution. Training for the district counselors and parents will help to identify that bullying is going on and allow them to work together to come to a solution. As far as punishment, we already have rules for punishment within the district, such as detention, the PACE Center and the court system, and the level of punishment must be reflective of the severity of the incident or incidents.

Q7: Feel free to mention anything about your family, your job, your experience, hobbies or anything else you’d like to share with our readers.

I have lived in Pearland for 17 years, married to Charisse Barry, and live in Green Tee. I served, active duty, in the United States Navy and earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. I am currently President of the PISD Education Foundation, and am on the Board of the Northern Brazoria County Education Alliance. I have also served on the Boards of the Chamber of Commerce, Adult Reading Center and the Economic Development Corporation for the City of Pearland.

For more information about Jeffrey Barry, visit https://www.facebook.com/Jeffforkids.



For information about Kelvin Williams, visit https://www.facebook.com/kelvinforpisdschoolboard.

NIX: Some Pearland ISD school bond history is in order

When discussing the questions of a possible school bond election next November, I suggest readers consider what happened in 2006 when Pearland voters approved roughly $115.6 million in school bonds.

In a district press release issued a month before the election, officials told voters projections showed enrollment was expected to reach 28,600 by 2014. Voters were also told the bond would fund a new high school and two new elementary schools, among other things.

Currently, Pearland ISD enrollment is roughly 21,115, more than 7,400 fewer students than projected. And although the bond provided construction funding for Dawson High School which opened in 2009, elementary schools twelve and thirteen were never built. Why? I don’t know but I’d guess these are questions voters and trustees may soon be asking.

Another question to consider: only six years after it opened Dawson High School is now the district’s most overcrowded campus. Why? I don’t know but what I do know is PBK Architecture, a firm that was involved in the construction of Dawson High School, last year agreed to pay Allen ISD millions in damages for their part in structural defects that led to the year-long closure of the district’s new $60 million high school stadium. Yet just last month, administrators gave PBK Architecture a perfect score on bid tally sheets and advised trustees to again hire the company on an “as-needed” basis.

According to the 2015 financial audit, the district’s total long-term debt equals approximately $356.1 million, or roughly $16,822 per student. Do we need to add to that number? At this stage, that’s a question to be carefully considered by members of the Long Range Facilities Planning Community Committee and later, by trustees. Let me be clear, I have great respect for every one of the Pearland ISD trustees. They each work tirelessly on behalf of Pearland students and I have no doubt they will carefully consider all these questions and many others before allowing a bond proposal to come before voters.

And in covering this process, it’s not my intent to tell anyone whether they should vote for or against a bond proposal. My intention is provide accurate information and uncover the facts as they are made available via public meetings, agenda documents and other official reports. Readers deserve to have accurate information during every step of the process.

Stay tuned.

Pearland loses promising Dawson High School student

By Stacey Glaesmann and Kristi Nix

GrayThe Pearland community lost a promising young man Tuesday (Jan. 12). Joshua Gray, a junior at Dawson High School, was rushed to the hospital after experiencing severe stomach pains. He was in emergency surgery when he passed away.

Gray was an advanced student and was active on the golf team.

Dawson High School counselors are available for students who need to process this loss.

A GoFundMe account has been set up in Gray’s memory. “Josh and his family have been a source of comfort for so many people so many times. Please flood them with your prayers and give what you can,” it reads. To donate, visit https://www.gofundme.com/5xutgbvn.

Pearland ISD Rodeo Art Exhibit slated for Jan. 13-14


2015 Gold medal winner by PJHW student Jennifer Li

In the rodeo mood? Boot-scoot to Pearland Independent School District’s 2016 Rodeo Art Exhibit Jan. 13-14.

The public exhibit at the Education Support Center (1928 N. Main) will feature boots, broncos, barnyards and other Western themes by artists in grades K-12. Public exhibit hours include. . .

  • Wednesday, Jan. 13: 4-7 p.m. (reception for students, families, teachers and friends)
  • Thursday, Jan. 14: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

A rodeo judging committee will judge the artwork privately Wednesday.

Afterward, selected art will be showcased at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in March, where students will have the opportunity to auction their works and win scholarships.

School bond election strategy aims to target parent voters

Pearland ISD officials recently began working on two critical planning steps to advance plans for a November bond election: strategic planning and facilities planning.

Trustees recently approved two consulting contracts designed to help guide the district through bond election strategy and the planning process. A $27,000 contract was approved with Engage, a firm that specializes in strategic planning and a $20,000 contract with Scott Milder, who works as an elections strategist for Stantec, a construction and architecture company.

Milder described his approach to election strategy in “Targeting voters in a school bond election”, an article published online by the School Superintendents Association.

Using special software, Milder can merge the voting history for a school district with with student directory information to create a list of likely registered voter parents by campus. According to the article, that data can then be merged with lists of local civic club memberships, booster clubs and an employee directory.

“Many registered voters never or rarely vote. Identifying those most likely to vote allows a targeted, one-to-one approach with those voters most likely to impact the outcome of your election,” Milder writes.

Using the targeted list, school administrators and staff members are then encouraged to start making phone calls.

“A voter who receives a call directly from the superintendent reminding them to vote and asking whether they have any questions is inspired to vote… and vote yes,” Milder writes.

But before focusing efforts toward a list of targeted voters, Milder recommends organizing a 45-50 person committee of community members and district staff to review the district’s goals and needs and make bond recommendations to the board.

“In many cases, the members of this committee create a political action committee to get out the ‘vote yes’ message, so it is important they have a positive experience.” Milder writes.

According to agenda documents, Milder’s $20,000 consulting fee will be reimbursed to the district via any future construction contracts awarded to his employer, Stantec.

Stantec and KBR

Stantec and the Houston-based architectural firm KBR were picked by trustees to provide architectural services on an “as-needed” basis at the Dec. 8 Board of Trustees meeting.

Trustees reviewed a list of 14 firms who submitted a statement of qualifications for the position including Stantec, KBR, CRE8 Architects, DLR Group, Corgan Architecture, Fanning Howey + House Partners, Huckabee, IBI Group, Kirksey Architecture, Pfluger Architects, Harrison Kornberg Architects, Powers Brown Architecture, SBWV Architects and VLK Architects.

Four Pearland ISD administrators and the City of Pearland Director of Engineering met and ranked each firm using six evaluation criteria measures: background and experience, previous experience with PISD and other districts, pre-bond planning, coordination and public relations, key project personnel, corporate financial qualifications and project management plan.

Of the 14 firms, KBR was awarded a perfect score. Stantec was ranked second and SBWV Architects was ranked third.

Trustees voted to approve the committee’s recommendation to hire KBR and Stantec.

According to agenda documents, the contracts with each firm will be negotiated at a later date once the details of future bond projects are known.


PISD Closed 12/21 – 1/1


Dawson vs. Pearland Ticket Info for DHS Fans

Dawson Eagle Football Fans,

12047112_1028858597145429_3049894500002400573_nMonday, tickets will go on sale for the October 2nd Dawson Eagles vs. Pearland Oilers football game. This year, the Eagles are on the home side. To help facilitate Eagle fans in purchasing tickets, ALL general admission and reserved tickets will go on sale AT Dawson High School, Monday morning at 6:00 am. No online tickets for the home side will be available online until Wednesday.

To ensure you get a ticket, make plans to purchase your tickets on campus Monday or Tuesday from 6:15 am to 2:15 pm. Don’t wait to purchase your tickets! We anticipate this game will SELL OUT by Wednesday!!!

Season ticket holders do not need to purchase tickets.

Pearland community invited to Oilerfest

SWCrop-bannerJoin the Oiler tradition as Pearland High School kicks off its homecoming festivities during the family-friendly Oilerfest.

The community and PHS alumni are invited to the annual school carnival and homecoming pep rally on Thursday, Sept. 24, 4-7 p.m. at PHS, 3775 S. Main.

Oilerfest will feature face painting, dunking booths, inflatable rides and games for all ages. Guests will also enjoy nachos, funnel cake, baked goods and other delicious carnival fare.

Tickets for individual games and activities are $0.50-$1 each. Free parking will be available in the south lot near the Rig Stadium.

For more information, contact PHS at 281-997-7445 or visit the PHS home page.

Pearland ISD officials: Overcrowding at Dawson could open door to 2016 bond election

Additional portable buildings provide needed classroom space to ease overcrowding at Dawson High School this year. But the long term solution will likely involve a November 2016 bond election, district administrators recently told trustees.

At a board meeting held Tuesday (Sept. 8), Don Tillis, Pearland ISD Director of Facilities and Planning, outlined a study showing enrollment counts and future projections. The report indicated two elementary schools are expected to exceed capacity next year and Berry Miller Junior High and Lawhon Elementary are already above capacity. Those issues could be addressed through “spot-rezoning” Tillis said. But Dawson High School, which has already exceeded its estimated maximum capacity by more than 400 students, is a different matter.

“That’s most likely something we’re going to have to address with a bond,” Tillis said.

Dawson High School was built in 2007 and was designed to house roughly 2,000 students.

According to the demographics report prepared by Templeton Demographics, enrollment at Pearland High School is expected to reach an all-time high of 3,214 next year. Trustee Charles Gooden questioned if overcrowding would become an issue there as well in the future. Although the campus is designed to offer sufficient classroom space for up to 3,850 students, district officials had previously speculated that having that many students might cause crowding problems in the hallways between classes and would add strain to the fine arts and sports programs, Trustee Pam Boegler said.

“My biggest concern right now is Dawson High School,” Boegler said.

“We worry about that. I think our short term answer is portables. We put a bunch there this year,” Superintendent Dr. John Kelly said.

Going forward, Dawson enrollment is expected to reach 2,500 by 2021.

“Long term, Don and I are convinced a new wing and other facilities are going to have to go into Dawson in that November 2016 bond election,” Dr. Kelly Said.

Another concern mentioned was overcrowding at Cockrell Elementary, which is expected to have 951 students next year and will exceed its estimated maximum capacity of 858 by 93 students. Enrollment this year came in just shy of that number at 854 students.

Harris Elementary School, which has an estimated maximum capacity of 770, has 745 students this year and is expected to reach an enrollment of 799 students next year.

Lawhon Elementary, which has an estimated maximum capacity of 638, reached an enrollment of 717 students this year and is expected to have 708 students next year.

Overall, the district gained 502 students this year to a total of 21,051. Over the next five years, the district expects enrollment to grow less than two percent each year to an expected total of 22,104 in 2020. In 2025, enrollment is expected to reach 22,801.

The demographics study also showed the racial makeup of the district’s student population has grown more diverse over the past five years. In 2014-15, roughly 30.6 percent of the student population was Hispanic, up from 26.1 percent in 2010-11. Roughly 40 percent of the student population was white last year, down from 44.7 percent five years ago. The population of African American students has gone from 16.3 percent in 2010-11 to 16 percent last year and Asian students have gone from 9.6 percent in 2010-11 to 10 percent last year.

On average, more than one of every four Pearland ISD students are considered economically disadvantaged with the percentage showing a slight increase over the last five years. In 2014-15, roughly 27 percent of the student population was economically disadvantaged, up from 26.4 percent five years ago.

Trustees took no formal action following the presentation.

“I see our next step is the community facilities committee gets together, looks at this report first and then goes out and looks at some of these campuses and the overcrowding issues and then builds that into the November 2016 bond election,” Dr. Kelly told trustees at the end of the discussion.

Pearland thriving with two-QB system

One of Pearland's two quarterbacks, Connor Blumrick (8) surges ahead while being tackled by Houston Memorial players Rudolph Vargas (85) and Daymon Driggs (88) during last week's game.

One of Pearland’s two quarterbacks, Connor Blumrick (8) surges ahead while being tackled by Houston Memorial players Rudolph Vargas (85) and Daymon Driggs (88) during last week’s game.

(Houston Chronicle) Pearland has one of the richest football traditions in Texas, but this year it is bucking one traditional trend shared by most teams that compete at an elite level.

Read more…