Job descriptionSchool boards are the governing bodies of their school districts. Term is three years.
DutiesSets district goals and priorities
Adopts and reviews district policies
Publish annual educational performance report
Hires and evaluates district superintendent
Adopts district budget and monitors district finances
Approves tax rate
Annual salaryUnpaid; reimbursed for official expenses.
MeetingsMonthly board meetings; special meetings called as needed.
ISD contact informationContact Election Clerk
brenda.rittenberry@birdvilleschools.net
817-547-5714

Who’s Running?

Richard Davis (incumbent)Facebook: Re-Elect Richard Davis for BISD School Board Trustee
Email: davis4birdville@gmail.com
Michelle Sortor Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Michelle-Sortor-Candidate-for-Birdville-ISD-Trustee-Place-5-183517003277851

Candidate Q&A

1. WHY ARE YOU THE BEST QUALIFIED CANDIDATE?
Richard Davis
I have been privileged to to serve Birdville ISD as Trustee since 2006. My experience during these difficult and challenging times caused by COVID 19 pandemic will help guide us through the upcoming months.
Michelle Sortor
I have a bold vision for a post-COVID Birdville that builds upon our proven academic success and takes our district into a new generation of learning - one that focuses on the whole well-being of our students and teachers, one that works to overcome the COVID-learning gap without penalizing students or teachers, and one that recognizes we can work to move past educational inequities towards a bright new future.
2. WHAT ARE THE CURRENT NEEDS OF YOUR DISTRICT AND WHAT ARE YOUR PRIORITIES FOR ADDRESSING THEM?
Richard Davis
Hiring a new Superintendent is the primary focus of the Board today. The process of interviewing potential candidates has already begun with the objective to have someone selected before the end of the current school year.
Michelle Sortor
I have a post-COVID vision for Birdville that encompasses three key areas: Meeting the COVID "learning gap" in a manner that is not punitive to either students or teachers, but recognizes the unique challenges of the past year; Addressing education inequities that existed prior to COVID (and potentially worsened since), with teachers being given resources they need; Recognizing, prioritizing, and resourcing the mental health needs of students and staff as a vital need that demands attention and effective solutions.
3. WHAT POLICIES SHOULD YOUR DISTRICT PURSUE WITH REGARD TO SCHOOL SAFETY?
Richard Davis
Great strides have been accomplished under the leadership of the current Superintendent Dr. Darrell Brown. When he came to Birdville ISD 10 years ago safety and academic improvement were his focus and he has met that task head on. New renovations for school entry vestibules have been completed which will make all of our schools safer and have controlled access.
Michelle Sortor
We should aggressively pursue proactive safety measures, including the maintenance of evidence-based threat assessment teams in our schools, adequate mental health intervention resources, and preparation resources that are trauma-sensitive and geared toward the well-being of students. Toward that end, we should be tracking not only the conclusions and outcomes of our threat assessment teams to ensure specific student populations are not being targeted disproportionately but also tracking our students' responses - physical and mental - to events such as lockdown drills to ensure that these are being conducted in a manner that is not traumatic to children.
4. HOW SHOULD TECHNOLOGY AND VIRTUAL LEARNING BE UTILIZED POST-PANDEMIC? WHAT LESSONS DID WE LEARN FROM THE 2020-2021 SCHOOL YEAR THAT CAN BE APPLIED TO IMPROVE THE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM?
Richard Davis
In person learning is the preferred and most effective method of teaching our students. Virtual learning may be a part of our methodology in teaching in future years. Birdville ISD has invested in 1:1 ratio on computer devices for our entire student population. Guidance from TEA in the upcoming days ahead will tell us how virtual learning will be continued and what resources and instructional staffing will be required as we go into the next school year. We are more prepared for virtual learning than when we were one year ago and will find a way to meet all students needs.
Michelle Sortor
For a small subset of students and their families, virtual learning is a preferred learning platform, and to the extent the District is allowed by the State to accommodate that preference, the District should make every effort to do so. For most students, however, face-to-face learning is the optimal platform for learning.
What I hope this year has taught us - all of us - is that education is not only valuable but that the educational process has value, so that when we talk about things like teacher salaries, and student/teacher mental health, we see that these are issues that deserve priority and funding, not just during times of crisis.
5. WHAT IMPACTS HAS THE PANDEMIC HAD ON STUDENTS, AND WHAT MEASURES SHOULD BE IMPLEMENTED TO OFFSET THOSE IMPACTS?
Richard Davis
The pandemic and virtual learning has caused many of our students to fall behind in our core subjects of reading, math and science. We will have summer school available for students in K-12 that need assistance in catching up to insure they are on the path to success.
Michelle Sortor
There is significant data to suggest that children were in a mental-health crisis prior to the pandemic, and we know that since the pandemic began, rates of self-harm among children have increased. These are serious issues that do not stop at the school doors. We must provide a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach to address these serious concerns, which have complex and multiple causes - and will not simply disappear once the pandemic does.
We also know that many children have fallen behind, which creates a dilemma - many are too far behind to realistically make up work in time for the following year. However, it is also not fair for these children to miss out on an entire economic work-year of their lives, which would impact their future. Instead, we need an innovative strategy to allow the children and their families to want to make up this work after the pandemic is over the opportunity to do so - without penalizing these children for being behind, and without penalizing their teachers either.
6. THE 2020-2021 SCHOOL YEAR HAS BEEN UNIQUE FOR TEACHERS AS WELL AS STUDENTS. WHAT IMPACTS HAS THIS HAD ON TEACHERS AND WHAT MEASURES SHOULD BE IMPLEMENTED TO ADDRESS THEM?
Richard Davis
Teachers have stepped up to the challenge and we have done our best to reward them financially and with adequate planning time to assist them in this unique year. We have not seen a mass exodus of teachers because we have done our best to meet their needs and listen to what we can do to make their important task productive.
Michelle Sortor
I believe more accurate and anonymous surveying by the Board needs to be done in order to elicit information from teachers. Many of the teachers I have spoken to feel overwhelmed and unheard. They feel their mental health has suffered during the pandemic, and that they have inadequate resources to deal with their own and their students' mental health challenges. A comprehensive and candid determination needs to be made as to what teachers need to meet their own and their students' needs.
7. WHAT ARE YOUR SPECIFIC BUDGET PRIORITIES AND HOW WILL YOU BALANCE COMPETING BUDGETARY INTERESTS?
Richard Davis
85% of our budget is for salaries. I will commit to make our teachers salaries competitive and inline with surrounding districts. Completion of our 2018 bond program will be done under budget and on time as promised the voters. Our Citizen Bond Oversight Committee has been monitoring the progress of these expenditures and recently reported to the Board that we are right on track.
Michelle Sortor
There remain a lot of "unknowns" regarding what money, if any, Birdville will receive from the American Rescue Act passed this year, or if additional funding will come from the State to make up for anticipated tax shortfalls. My priorities will be meeting core educational goals, providing for our students who have fallen behind during the pandemic, meeting existing obligations, and teacher recruitment/retention.
8. HOW SHOULD THE BOARD ADDRESS DISPARITIES IN ACCESS TO EDUCATION, TECHNOLOGY, AND RESOURCES FOR DISADVANTAGED STUDENTS AND PARTICULARLY STUDENTS OF COLOR?
Richard Davis
Birdville ISD has done a great job for many years addressing and meeting the needs of disadvantaged and minority students. I believe we will continue down that same path to meet the needs of ALL students in Birdville ISD.
Michelle Sortor
First, the Board has to acknowledge and be able to quantify how and where these disparities exist, and what resources are needed, particularly in the areas of opportunities (for instance, disparities in enrollment in AP and vocational classes), discipline, and overall education outcomes. Then, we can develop focused strategies and targeted resources to address disparities. For instance, at-risk students should be eligible for focused intervention in core subjects to ensure the likelihood that they can catch-up or maintain the same level of education as their peers. We can work with community leaders to instill a strong sense of a "community school" to encourage attendance and a sense of mentorship. We need to support our teachers in celebrating the diversity that is Birdville in our classrooms, and train diversity - from the administration to the teachers - in a manner that is authentic and empowering.
9. ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO ADD?
Richard Davis
Michelle Sortor