Candidates

From left, are Kathy Bell and Margaret Pruett.

Candidates in two school board races disagreed on several points at a forum on Thursday ahead of the May 7 election in which questions came from Victoria Advocate readers and the paper’s editorial board.

Two challengers for District 1 of the Victoria Independent School District Board of Trustees, Kathy Bell and Theresa Klacman, had differing opinions about controversial subjects like critical race theory, social emotional learning and similar hot-button topics of the day. In the District 6 race, incumbent Margaret Pruett went head-to-head with challenger Emett Alvarez on the fate of the Stroman Middle School campus, fiscal management and parent access to board members at meetings.

Bell answers questions

Kathy Bell a candidate for trustee on the Victoria Independent School District's board of trustees answers a question at a political forum sponsored by the Victoria Chamber of Commerce and the Victoria Advocate. Keith Kohn, the newspaper's executive editor, right, was moderator of the event.

The forum, sponsored by the Victoria Chamber of Commerce and the Victoria Advocate and hosted by the University of Houston-Victoria in the Walker Auditorium, gave readers a chance to have their questions answered. It aired live on the Advocate’s Facebook page and about 50 people were in the audience.

Also at the forum were candidates for City Council Super District 6 incumbent Mark Loffgren and April Butler.

Bell, who served as a teacher for 24 years, said the priority needed to be on challenging students so they would remain in the community after graduation.

“We have bright kids, we have intelligent kids here,” Bell told the audience. “We want to keep them here.”

She said by making the schools more efficient it makes the students more successful in their future efforts.

Klacman, Bell’s opponent, said residents don’t trust how the current school board is spending tax dollars.

Klacman gets personal

Theresa Klacman, candidate for a seat on the Victoria Independent School District's board of trustees, gave a very personal account of her early life at the University of Houston-Victoria during a political forum sponsored by the Victoria Chamber of Commerce and the Victoria Advocate.

“There definitely needs to be more communication with the community on how money is being spent,” Klacman said.

When asked if philosophies such as social emotional learning (which gives the same attention to social and emotional skills as studies on math, science and reading), gender identity, critical race theory and sexual orientation should be discussed in the classroom, both Bell and Klacman agreed that those issues were ones that needed to be discussed at home.

“I’m from the old school,” Bell said. “Those things should be taught at home, not at school.”

“It’s not the government’s responsibility to raise our children,” Klacman said. “It’s our responsibility.”

Klacman said the public needed to realize there are problems in the school system and that discipline needed to be brought into classrooms, giving teachers more authority.

“There’s really something wrong here,” she said. Klacman, who founded Restoration House Ministries, said students needed to learn in a safe and functional work space.

Pruett explains legalities

School board member Margaret Pruett said trustees of the Victoria Independent School District cannot just have a conversation with parents during meetings. Rather state law prohibits a back-and-forth. Other candidates said those rules should be changed. Challenger Emett Alvarez awaits his turn to speak to her left. The discussion was at the University of Houston-Victoria during a political forum sponsored by the Victoria Chamber of Commerce and the Victoria Advocate.

VISD District 6 Trustee Margaret Pruett and challenger Emett Alvarez were faced with the same questions from both the community and the Advocate’s editorial board.

Pruett said she has been involved with VISD since 1994, working in special education, English as a Second Language and as a permanent substitute teacher. Since her involvement on the school board, she said dropout rates have fallen and high school graduation rates have gone up. She said she would like to include the community in more school-related issues.

Hopes to spend responsibly

Emett Alvarez, a candidate for a seat on the Victoria Independent School District's board of trustees, said spending should be done responsibly, and money should be funded properly from Austin and Washington. He spoke at the University of Houston-Victoria during a political forum sponsored by the Victoria Chamber of Commerce and the Victoria Advocate. 

“If we create more partnerships, it creates more opportunities for our students,” Pruett told the audience. “It gives them tools to be successful in their futures.”

Alvarez said he wanted to fix and renovate schools, including Stroman Middle School.

“I want our community to step up,” he said, adding taxpayers had to be informed about issues facing the schools in Victoria.

“We’ve come to a time where change is in order,” Alvarez said. “We are in the business of education. Isn’t it about the kids?”

Recommended For You


A long-time journalist, George likes 60s musclecars and firearms.

You must be logged in to react.
Click any reaction to login.
0
0
0
0
0

Local Government Reporter

George covers city and county government here in Victoria and the Crossroads.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Transparency. Your full name is required.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article. And receive photos, videos of what you see.
Don’t be a troll. Don’t be a troll. Don’t post inflammatory or off-topic messages, or personal attacks.

Thank you for reading!

Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.

To subscribe, click here. Already a subscriber? Click here.