Photo courtesy of Eron Linn

The RISD Board of Trustees election is on Nov. 5. Early voting begins Oct. 21.

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District 2: Eron Linn, Incumbent

Why have you decided to run for this position?

Having served as Trustee for the past two terms, I have experienced the responsibility and the joy of having a positive impact working for all of RISD’s 39,000 students. I often say this isn’t the easiest job I’ve ever had, but other than fatherhood it is the most rewarding.  The life-long relationship with parents, residents and community leaders allow me to be approachable and hear the needs of the children first-hand.  In this critical election, District 2 needs our representative to have the skills and experience to work with the Administration, fellow school board members and the community. If re-elected, I will continue to stand up for what I believe is right, ask difficult questions, and vote accordingly.

What experience have you had that will help you with this position?

My tenure as Trustee has reinforced the importance of teamwork to ensure organizational success. Before my election in 2015, I proudly served my community through appointments to numerous community and civic groups. The Richardson Mayor and City Council appointed me to serve as a member of the Zoning Board of Adjustment and after that as a Commissioner on the City Planning Commission.

I served for six years on the Richardson Chamber of Commerce board, twice as chair of the Public Policy Committee. I also served two years on the board for the Richardson YMCA where I still volunteer as a youth sports coach. I am a graduate of Inside RISD [2011] and Leadership Richardson [Class XXVII].

If elected, what policies will you advocate for?

RISD is responsive to the community when it comes to modifying existing practices and procedures. Policies, once adopted by the Trustees, are more rigid and provide a framework for the Superintendent and staff.  The first policy I’d recommend for adoption is the newly created community engagement process for capital projects. RISD, students, neighborhood and community leaders now work side-by-side to design projects based on the needs of the school, the neighborhood, and the community before a project is considered by Trustees.

Second, I support the recommendation made by the 2017 Strategic plan that RISD adopt a Neighborhood Schools policy.  A policy with a clearly defined process that includes metrics could help RISD determine when it’s appropriate to either modify school attendance boundaries or expand a campus.

Third, to avoid future salary compression issues, RISD should consider a policy that ties the percentage increase of the first-year teacher’s salary with the annual pay raise for existing teachers and staff.

What do you like about RISD?

I have been so impressed with RISD’s Council of PTA’s since our family began our journey in RISD in 2014.  I cannot overstate the important role that the PTA has in Richardson ISD.  Not only do our schools function better thanks to PTA activities, but there is also a positive impact on students when they see their parents involved.  This year, both the Yale Elementary and Springridge Elementary Teacher’s Lounges were “spruced up” with new furniture and amenities thanks to their respective PTAs.  This gives teachers a fantastic space to sit and reflect away from the hustle and bustle of classrooms and hallways. As a Trustee, I have also had the privilege over the last four years to witness the great generosity of our remarkable PTAs in the form of the many gifts of basic, but needed, items for our students and teachers. I’m also a supporter of the Council of PTA’s Clothes Closet and Used Book Fair, where I was able to provide a sponsorship this past year.

There is strength in numbers, and I was proud to travel to Austin this past March with two busloads full of my fellow RISD PTA members to advocate on behalf of our students and teachers.  I can think of no larger error that the State Legislature has made over the last decade than to underinvest in public education. As citizens, we have a moral obligation and protected right to petition our government to address our grievances. I was proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with parents and advocates not only from Richardson, but across the great state of Texas to speak up for our kids. There is no larger priority for me.

What don’t you like about RISD?

Over the last four years as a member of the School Board, I have witnessed the passion that people have for this school district. Passions can bring out the best qualities in people and the worst, at times. Trustees, after all, are elected by the people and charged with managing two of the most important aspects in a person’s life: their kids and their tax dollars. My decisions on the School Board aren’t always congruent with those passions. I do my best with the information I have to make the decision that I think is right for students, teachers, and our community. If re-elected, I will continue to do my very best to represent the values of District 2.

What changes are you hoping to make?

I support the recommendation made by the 2017-18 Strategic plan that RISD adopt a Neighborhood Schools policy.  A policy with a clearly defined process that includes metrics could help RISD determine when it’s appropriate to either modify school attendance boundaries or expand a campus.

Before adopting a policy, though, the Superintendent must first assemble a team of community members, RISD teachers and staff to begin working on a draft policy.  Next, RISD will hold a series of public meetings across our four learning communities (RHS, BHS, LHHS, JJP) to receive parent and community feedback.  Finally, the Superintendent will make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees to adopt a new policy and the Board must take a vote.

What – in your opinion – is the culture of RISD?

RISD has done an excellent job in providing a high-quality educational experience to students and families for decades. RISD has a culture of providing students with a multitude of options to help them reach their full potential, such as AVID, Gifted and Talented, Fine Arts, Athletics, and Magnet programs. I am 100 percent committed to keeping RISD the best possible educational experience for students in our community.

What would you like constituents to know?

My goal as a person, husband and father is to be a part of the solution and to leave the world better than I found it.  Something I care deeply about and feel I can impact is public education. As the father of three elementary-aged children in RISD, I have a vested interest in providing each of our students with the knowledge and skills needed to compete on a global stage.

This Q&A has been edited for clarity and brevity.