Who will you choose in the May 6 election? Here's a look at the candidates. In their own words!
Burleson ISD Board of Trustees Place 4 – Candidate profiles
My name is Shelley Grant.
Let me say first, I support the BISD, its students, its educators and its purpose.
Do I support the bond?
Yes, I support the bond in part.
However, I do think the bond totally ignores the foundational level of every student's education, which is the elementary school level.
The Burleson ISD has had to file waivers with the TEA, in regard to the state mandated student/teacher ratio because many of our elementary schools are already so over capacity, we exceed the state mandated student/teacher ratio.
In my mind, this is a dire situation knowing the growth plans of our city leadership. This means we are going to need to build more elementary schools.
However, the bond does not address building any elementary schools, which we are undoubtedly going to need.
I had a gentleman ask me just how we would pay for elementary schools and, I agree, that is the million dollar question.
Our school board trustees have not exactly had a history of fiscal restraint or responsible spending in recent years. In regard to Centennial High School, in my opinion, it would have been better use of our tax dollars to not have built a school large enough that one whole wing could house an entire elementary school during the flooding crisis at Bransom Elementary. This does seem excessively large and unnecessary. Granted, Centennial is state of the art; however, was it necessary to build the largest campus in the state when we were already needing a middle school, as well?
The spending of our tax dollars needs to be more equitable, responsible and balanced throughout the entire district; and, above all, our spending needs to be proactive and not reactive.
We find ourselves now building the middle school we needed well over a decade ago with no money left over for the elementary schools we need today.
There are two things you cannot get back once you waste them: one is time and one is money.
This is the position the students, taxpayers, and our educators find themselves in because of years and years of irresponsible spending.
To be more specific to this year's bond, ask yourself which is more important in regards to education: an indoor workout facility or the imminent need for an elementary school, or possibly two elementary schools?
The whole scenario reminds me of having that neighbor who buys a yacht, when you know he only has a motorcycle to pull it.
It just does not make good common sense.
My platform is simple:
Our children should be the focus in any decisions we as School Board members make. We need to continue to make BISD the best district for all types of students and offer special programs to meet those changing needs. We need to focus on the future and move forward. My motto would be "every student, every school." It shouldn't matter what side of town you live on they deserve the same education.
As far as the bond goes, we are in need of a middle school, and the bond fits those needs. What concerns me is anytime you are maxing out the state sales tax, it can become an issue. I feel the bond has more wants than needs. We need to make sure when we are using taxpayer funds they are for the best interest of our students. Before we go to the tax payers, we should make sure we have looked over every possible way to do things instead of every 10 or so years do a bond election.
My name is Andy Pickens and I have lived in Burleson since 1995. I am honored and privileged to have served as a Burleson ISD board of trustees member since 2011. During my experience on the board, I have served as secretary and serve currently as vice-president. I am married to Cindy, a teacher for the past 22 years at Hughes Middle School, and have a son, Drew, a seventh-grade student at STEAM Middle School. I am a graduate of the University of Charleston, W.V., with a BS in Business Administration. I graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth with a Masters of Arts in Music, and have served several churches as minister of music and music/administration including First Baptist Church in Burleson, as minister of mMusic. I am also a former police officer with the Charleston, W.V. Police Department. Currently, I serve as minister of music at First Baptist Church in Sanger.
I am a committed conservative with Christian family values. I am running for reelection to Burleson ISD board of trustees as a concerned parent and teacher’s husband who feels called to serve his community. I am dedicated to the educational achievements of students in the district and to insure that all of our children receive the best possible education to prepare them for the future. I bring proven leadership skills with the ability to motivate people to work together. I represent no “special interest” groups. My single motivation or “special interest” is my son, Drew, and all other children in our district just like him.
A brief summary of my platform:
• Remember that our children will always come first, and we must work diligently to provide a safe and effective learning environment for every child.
• Continue to work with the board and administration to provide strong financial oversight and promote an atmosphere of transparent fiscal responsibility and accountability. As stewards of the district’s finances, it is our responsibility to insure that students, teachers and classrooms are budget priorities.
Burleson ISD Board of Trustees Place 3 – Candidate profiles
I entered the race for a seat on the BISD board of trustees for several reasons:
First, I am not pleased that the BISD built the “most expensive high school in the state of Texas.” The $106 million dollar bond could have been divided into at least two parts. They could have spent $85 million on the high school and would have received a great structure. The other $21 million could have gone to upgrade Hughes Middle School.
Second, I am not pleased with the way the BISD handled the property north of Bransom Elementary. Sometime in the past, BISD decided they did not want to build a middle school on that property. To my knowledge, they did not share that info with the general public.
Then, the BISD decided to sell the property to a developer. This was not announced to the nearby property owners. They decided to use some of their funds to develop a “site plan” that would be given, free of charge, to a developer. The plan included multi-family housing. This was not announced either. There would be a large number of apartments in this plan. The BISD then needed to get the zoning changed to get these apartments approved for the developer. Another free treat for the developer. Then the BISD got caught. The taxpayers were not happy.
This is not the way the public taxpayer should be treated.
Third, is the way the BISD board of trustees is not individually responsible to any certain area of the BISD school district. If you want to call “your representative,” you are out of luck. I would present myself to as many groups as possible as the “one you can call for help.”
I am retired. I have plenty of time to visit one or two schools a week. I would have to gain the trust of each principal. They would eventually learn they would not have to worry that I was in their school to “dig up dirt.” I would be there to see what I could do to possibly help them in the education process.
I have managed multi-million dollar operations. I have a bachelor and master degree in marketing. I have owned my own business. I am a master trainer for a Stanford University program that is given, free of charge, to seniors to help them self-manage their chronic diseases.
My wife is a retired school teacher of 29 years. She has taught students from the fourth-grade to the 12th grade. Her subjects included English, speech, drama and ESL. She has taught in multiple school districts in Texas, California and in the Dept. of Defense military schools in Puerto Rico and the Netherlands.
My wife and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary last year. This would indicate that I am trainable.
I am very happy with the education process being given to the students of BISD.
I am not happy with the way the BISD treats the taxpayers of Burleson.
If elected, I would be the one you could call.
Misty Lemons. (Write-in candidate)
Our district's vision is “for every learner to graduate with 21st Century problem solving and reasoning skills, ready to embrace their dynamic future" and it has been driven by a focus on innovation, adaptability, and anticipation of students needs.
To further propel our district into a more modern model of education, I propose improving the anti-bullying policy and a more clear cut focus on empathy and inclusion driven models where every individual matters, their individual needs matter, and how that can apply to school community and character building, as well as fostering relationships between schools and parents.
Establishing a school culture of acceptance, inclusion, tolerance, empathy, and respect will firstly be modeled by our teachers and administrators, and supported by parents. We will give our teachers and administrators support with inclusion training, provide public speakers who have dealt with bullying, inclusion, and disabilities, and teach staff the skills to intervene consistently and appropriately to bullying behaviors for all students.
By establishing bullying prevention programs, inclusion models, and implementation of questionnaires for parents and students about bullying in their schools, and questionnaires for parents of students in special education, we will give the district data on what works and what needs improvement to increase safety, and to address how to better serve not only our general education population, but our special education students and their families, as well.
Inclusive education models benefit all students and staff in creating an environment for all students to flourish, and are typically inexpensive.
New and improved facilities will only take us part of the way there. We have an obligation to better support students academically, but also sustain them socially, mentally, and emotionally well into adulthood as productive citizens and community members. We want to take our district to the next level, and that level should include everyone.
1. After I was elected three years ago, I was told that learning my role as a trustee would be like “drinking from a fire hose,” and I can now attest to the accuracy of that statement. However, as much as there was to digest, I am proud of the courageous decisions that have made our district a better place for our students and our community.
I often hear our superintendent, Dr. Jimerson, say, “relevance makes rigor possible,” and I wholeheartedly believe that.
In an ever-changing society, it is important that we understand that not every student will learn the same way. I am committed to serving on a board that believes in providing meaningful education that doesn’t change the unique passions and gifts for our students, and doesn’t insist that all students fit into a certain mold. My two kids, aged two and four, are almost completely opposite in their interests and abilities. I want to ensure that this district has the ability to draw out the best in both of them.
During my service as a BISD trustee, the district has opened four new schools of choice - three at the elementary school level, and one at the high school level. We also opened a program of choice at the middle school level. Our students are signing up for career and technical education courses as fast as we are able to offer them, and we have seen a steady increase in the number of students taking advanced courses.
At every level, the work going on in our district is fascinating. Did you know that our fire academy is getting ready to graduate its second cohort of high school seniors with their fire certification? This prepares them to begin their career after high school. We have sixth graders talking to astronauts and having their experiments performed on the International Space Station. These facts are nothing short of amazing, and serve as evidence that we are honing in on the interests that make learning relevant to students.
A few months ago, the board of trustees passed a resolution for the district to become a District of Innovation, allowing our district to implement instructional strategies that best serve our students and give them the best possible instruction.
All the while, our district has received multiple awards for fiscal transparency, fiscal responsibility and energy efficiency. We have worked diligently to earn these financial accolades, while providing raises for our teachers every year that I have served on the board.
Exciting things are happening in BISD every day, and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve this great district. From Burleson! For Burleson! As a father and a citizen of Burleson, I believe in doing what is best for our kids and our community. When early voting begins, I will be voting for our kids and their future. This is not just about my kids, but it is about all the kids that are to come.
Burleson City Council Place 2 – Candidate profiles
*K. J. Topinka, a candidate for Ciry Council Place 2 did not submit a profile.
The following would be my platform: 1. Responsible and Ethical economic development.
2.Continued infrastructure that is keeping up with city growth
3. Making sure our police and fire departments are keeping up with city growth.
My goal as a City Council member would be to serve the residents of the city of Burleson by doing everything in my power to continue to make Burleson a place where families want to reside.
A message from your councilman Rick Green:
Friends and neighbors, I seek another term on Council because now, more than ever, we need experienced leadership with proven trust to guide our city. We live in one of the fastest growing areas in the nation. That means a future of both challenges and opportunities. I have the vision to help Burleson take advantage of that growth while remaining unique and mindful of the many challenges. I have strong conservative values and believe my highest responsibility is to continue to be a good steward with our tax dollars. I built successful businesses and raised my family in Burleson for more than 28 years now. I am committed to working with you to help guide our city into the future. I ask for your vote in May.
Roman W. Pscheidt.
Provide leadership to our City Council
Help give direction when needed to move ahead on ideas and solutions for our town.
1. Move from a five-year plan to a three-year plan for managing the city.
2. Ask for a standing committee of diverse residents that would be a Dream Team for the city.
3. Replace members of the Council through election and start term limits of three terms. No more long term councilmen.
Reasonable growth for Burleson with foresight.
1. Help manage our explosive growth by keeping the vision as simple as possible.
2. Be more aggressive in seeking light industry for our city.
3. Turn our attention to the I-35 corridor and “sell” it as part of the city.
4. Shoot for a balance of the old and new within the city to keep Burleson’s charm.
5. Attempt to drop tax abatement from 10 years to five.
Maintain our quality of life.
1. Maintain the current levels of service provided by the BRiCK and the parks system.
2. Expand the neighborhood parks.
3. Expand the library and the senior center.
4. Build a youth center and a skate park.
See fire and police target the future.
1. Excellent now! We must look ahead to the needs of tomorrow, not just today.
2. Provide pay relief for both the fire and police departments so we can retain our men.
3. Get four-man teams for the safety of the men on the fire department.
4. Be proactive not just reactive to potential problems.
Fair housing for all citizens.
1. Housing, building and planning within all of our boundaries and subdivisions.
2. Section 8 housing is here and multi-family housing is part of Burleson, help people to accept it.
3. Currently, we get 50 percent of our revenue from single-family housing. Help move it more to business.
My top priority is protecting our children’s education through responsible growth. Our children should never be discarded and their education should always be on council’s radar. Our children need a representative on City Council and I want to be that representative. I want there to be term limits within our elected officials. I am a firm believer that a fresh perspective and change are good things in government. I want to limit people to three terms, equaling nine years. God willing I'm elected, I will bow out gracefully after three terms. I would also like to see more people get involved with our city's government. If elected, I personally want to go out and hear from the community. I want to get out and meet the people I am representing. I feel that, through personal relationships, there will be better turnout at the polls.
Burleson City Council Place 4 – candidate profiles
Politically, I am a constitutional conservative. I am married to Tammy, a high school math teacher and coach, and we have three daughters, 19, 14, and 12. I am a retired FBI agent and a retired reserve military officer. I am a fifth generation Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and a native of Grand Prairie.
I moved back to the Metroplex from El Paso upon my retirement from the FBI in 2014. I chose Burleson because it is a great place to live and work. Hometown done right, as is said. As a small-business owner, I owned Circle T Seal & Stain, a fence, deck, and concrete staining company, until I sold it in 2016. I currently maintain a small law practice here in Burleson, the Hulsey Law Firm, PLLC. This business experience will be invaluable for service as a Council member.
I am running on three main issues: 1) keeping property taxes as low as feasible, 2) smartly managing our growth, and 3) establishing single member districts for the election of Council members. Obviously, growth is the biggest issue facing Burleson.
The key here is to manage this inevitable and ongoing growth in a responsible way, balancing it against the needs of the community, ensuring that our infrastructure keeps up with growth, and being aware of how certain types of growth affect the quality of life here.
I currently serve on the Burleson Zoning Board of Adjustment, the Burleson Citizens Emergency Response Team, and the Burleson Chamber of Commerce Diplomats. I am a member of the Burleson Rotary Club, a precinct chairman in the Johnson County Republican Party, and an associate member of the Johnson County Republican Women, along with my wife, Tammy. I also serve as a colonel in the Texas State Guard. I am a Life Member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. In the mid-1990s, I served as city attorney and municipal prosecutor of Somerset, Texas.
I am not running against anyone. I am running for Burleson. I believe that the question for each voter is, “Who in this race is best suited to serve on the City Council?” I believe that based upon my education, training, and most especially my experience, that I am best suited for the job. I therefore, humbly and respectfully ask for your prayers, support and vote in this election. Thank you.
Thanks to everyone who has been so kind to pledge your support for my run for City Council. I have met so many great new faces and enjoyed chatting with the familiar faces from prior. This election time has been with its ups and downs, but let's remember our core values and what we want the future of Burleson to look like.
I have my remaining cores:
Public safety: I will continue to back the police, fire, and first responders in our town.
Responsible growth: Let's take care of our current and future neighbors. I'm in favor of apartments and more housing opportunities.
Quality of life: Walkability, parks, trails, open spaces, events and a dog park.
Higher education: Continued support for the BOF, two year and four year college, teaching trades, and high school college credits.
I stand for peace, love, and happiness. Ask anyone who has met me. I am a regular person who wants to represent the people of Burleson as their voice on the Council.
Pam Grant Tatum.
Burleson has been my home for 46 of my 51 years.
I love Burleson. I love my large extended family of residents. Many of you started out as my classmates, teammates and students.
I have had the honor and opportunity to be entrusted with your children, and grandchildren for years.
Each family has their own story to tell as to why their family chose Burleson to be their home. I think our city fathers have forgotten our heritage, forgotten our roots and why many of us were planted here.
I have a feeling of safety in our community. It was their goal to leave the fast-paced, big city in the rearview mirror.
We are losing that feeling. We are growing exponentially at a rate that is, in my opinion, driven by dollars, and not by common sense.
As a resident and leader, I feel a sense of responsibility to pull back on the reins and stop this quest for irresponsible, exponential growth.
I am pro-Burleson! I am for the people who want to live here. I am for the people who choose to plant their roots here, and for the people who contribute here on a permanent basis.
It is my opinion that irresponsible growth, lack of planned infrastructure, future public safety and nepotism are critical problems in Burleson.
Moreover, our police/fire departments would benefit from more officers and firefighters on duty. With our population explosion, the departments are forced to cover more than 43,000 residents and over 200 miles of street coverage of our 26.1 square miles of Burleson. Our current crime statistics will tell us that crime is down in Burleson. However, it is sad that we cannot meet family members for dinner at a local restaurant without fearing that our cars will be targeted for a break-in. Moreover, is it too much to expect that when you park your vehicle in front of a restaurant or store that you would expect for it to still be there when you finish eating dinner or running your errands?
My top priorities, after amending the charter, would be to propose that our city infrastructure, service departments, police and fire departments, streets and schools. Be able to catch up with our current growth instead of promoting more annexation and multi-family developments. We need to add lanes to our roads to help with traffic congestion, raise the salary of our police officers/firefighters, and add a fourth firefighter on our ladder trucks.
Furthermore, I see a need to give Old Town not just more restaurants and entertainment. The city infrastructure here needs tremendous work. The drainage in Old Town is only one example of not meeting our city needs.
It's time to stop the insanity.
Enough is enough.
It is a shame that Burleson, our hometown, appears to be "for sale" all in the name of progress.
Edited for length.
Burleson City Council Place 6 – candidate profiles
I have lived in Burleson for nearly 50 years. I have been married to Peggy for 47 years and have two daughters, Angela and Rhonda. We also have two grandsons and one granddaughter. I served 20 years on the school board and have served the last five years on the City Council, where I seek re-election. I am honest and conservative with a great love for Burleson. I believe in safety for all of our people and have supported the police and firemen while serving on the Council. I have helped plan growth, which is always a challenge as fast as Burleson grows. I have promoted business growth since I was a business owner of the Dairy Twin for nearly 27 years. I believe in higher education or vocational education for all of our youth. I have been on the Burleson Opportunity Fund since inception, helping hundreds of our graduating students go to college. I want a great city for all of our citizens, young and old. I have always been grateful to the citizens of Burleson for their support all of these years and have always worked as hard as I could for Burleson. I seek your continued support for my re-election and thank all of you for your time.
Jason D. Morse
Platform: Responsible Growth, Economic Growth and Charter Reform
Responsible growth is a mindset of intelligent city design by making the most of the available land through proper planning and zoning and paying close attention to budget priorities which places infrastructure over beautification and revitalization.
Burleson’s explosive growth must be accompanied by investing in the infrastructure needed to support that growth. We need more arterial roads to reduce traffic on the already congested streets. These roads also serve as desired places for new businesses to grow along, which supports economic development.
Our police force starting pay languishes behind others in the Metroplex and that must be rectified. Pay, staffing, departmental culture are only a few of the variables that attract qualified candidates and inspire existing employees to stay. Also, these variables are quite interconnected. An issue in one has a ripple-effect in others.
As Burleson continues to grow in population, it is imperative for our city leadership to continue to focus on economic development, in specific, manufacturing and distribution centers. There are numerous benefits to seeking out large manufacturing and distribution centers to operate in Burleson.
Burleson City Charter:
If elected, I would like to explore many changes to our current city charter. Among the changes I would like to explore include: term limits, establishing districts within our city, and the inclusion of elected officials in section 132 regarding personal interest.
Currently, section 132 of our City Charter prohibits all city employees from having financial interest, directly or indirectly, in any contract with the city. They also can have no interest in the sale to the city of city land, supplies or services. I would like to extend these restrictions to elected officials. The voters should have no suspicion that anything but their best interest is being served by Burleson's elected officials.
Edited for length.