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Questionnaire: Fainot Pierre for EPISD Board of Trustees

Fainot Pierre.
Fainot Pierre.
  1. What relevant experience qualifies you to serve as a school board trustee?

As a combat veteran and a diesel technician, I have real-world experiences. That said, I’m well-positioned to serve the northeast. I’m the only candidate with a detailed plan readily available online.

The last superintendent has been a profound disappointment and a setback for our school district. If elected, I intend to work with our State Reps and our State Senator to advocate for more funding for schools’ safety. Furthermore, I will work with our local government to ensure that our students and teachers have access to PPEs and vaccines as we're transitioning to in-person learning. With renewed optimism, I’m confident that EPISD will strive for excellence again!

  1. What is the top issue that's driving you to run for this position?

Schools’ safety is a topic of significant importance in my platform. I will insist that we create “a plan” and establish a rainy-day fund to deal with the next pandemic. And most importantly, our plan needs to follow health and safety protocols. Again, our students, teachers, and staff are valuables to our school district. Without them, we don’t have a school district. 

  1. On the search for the new superintendent: what are the top 3 qualifications you seek in a candidate?

It's time that we hire someone who understands our culture, history, and community to lead our school district in the right direction! Our next superintendent needs to be bi-lingual, accessible, and someone who has good judgment. I think it also makes sense to keep Vince Schefield as he has proven that he cares about our Students, Educators, Parents, and staff.

  1. What's the biggest challenge the district faces when it comes to educating the students and what will you do to address it?

Currently, our district is facing an unprecedented online learning curve that has left the BIPOC Community, Disabled community, and ESL community behind. When we return to in-person learning, we need to replacing ventilation systems that filter out harmful viruses, making sure that our Students and Educators feel safe. Furthermore, we need to make sure that no one gets left behind.

  1. Another challenge the district is facing is that enrollment continues to decline. What should the district do to better address this?

EPISD has to combat the crisis that charter and private schools have created. We must do a better job at advertising the benefits of public education, the simple fact that all of our Educators are certified, and that all taxpayers should care about our Public Education System. 

  1. Do you see the value in the hybrid learning model in a post-pandemic classroom? What do you think is needed to improve upon what exists?

The hybrid learning model has its benefits, but I am not naïve to think it is for everyone. For instance, students of color, students with disabilities, and those without broadband access often get left behind. To improve this model, we need to push for state-wide broadband, better training, and a model that ensures that hybrid learning is inclusive to every student.

  1. Knowing that kids won't be vaccinated for many more months if not another year, should the district dedicate money to improve air flow and social distancing in facilities or should those funds be used elsewhere?

We need to take care of asbestos, upgrading our ventilation systems, enforcing the use of masks. We need to use funds allocated from the American Rescue Plan to address those deficiencies. However, we need to hold Commissioner Morath and Governor Abbot accountable and ensure they don’t withhold taxpayer dollars again (like they did with the first stimulus amount that went to schools).

  1. Last summer, the board was set to consider another $242 million bond to pay for security upgrades, conversion to refrigerated air conditioner and LED lighting, and improving athletic facilities. The district is still working on completing the projects from the $669 million bond approved in 2016. Would you support another bond issuance in 2021 or 2022? Please answer Yes, No and Why.

No. As it stands, I would not support another bond. The 2016 bond has caused a tremendous burden on our constituents. Taxpayers' dollars went on to building new schools that look like prisons. We need to be thoughtful in how we spend taxpayers' dollars moving forward.

  1. You represent voters in your district. Do you commit to communicating directly with your constituents and answering questions when asked about your opinion on a given issue? 

I believe that transparency should be our best policy. I will make myself available to all my constituents to debate “discuss” all the pressing issues that affected the northeast.

 Our students, teachers, parents, and community partners should have a voice in our school district. If elected, I endeavor to work with urgency to earn their trust. It's time that we hire someone who looks like us to lead our school district! It is critical that our next Superintendent is free of all conflict of interest. 

  1. Some trustees punt to the board president even though they are not being asked to speak on behalf of the board, but to only share their opinion as an elected official for their specific district.
    -Last year, the board approved a 5 percent increase to the tax rate, raising taxes by $75 dollars on the average home (worth $150 million). The pandemic has brought deep financial challenges for most families and now the Central Appraisal District has raised valuations, too. Would you support a tax rate increase, tax rate decreases or leaving it flat?

I will not support a tax hike on struggling residents in our school district. In my view, a tax hike during a global pandemic is nothing more than a slap in the face of working folks who are struggling to get there. If anything, our school boards need to advocate for appropriate funding from the 16.7 billion dollars that the state of Texas received from the American Rescue Plan. I cannot stress enough the need for more funding for school safety.

  1. What makes you the best candidate for the job?

It sounds terrifying--because it is. Special interest groups think they can roll out in the northeast with their deep pocket in an attempt to buy out this election. We have folks line up for their campaign contributions and barking orders.

Every election is important, right? This election is perhaps the most consequential one for the northeast. Equity is one of the high marks of my platform. Employee and staff livable wages are on the table. Our teacher's salary is on the table.

Furthermore, the future of our public school is on the ballot this election. For years, the northeast has no representations in our school board. If elected, I endeavor to serve our community. 

I pledge to conduct monthly meetings to address years of intentional neglect, fields with no grasses, and run-down buildings with poor ventilation.

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