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Megaphone Interview with GISD Place 6 Candidate Jen Mauldin


Megaphone Interview with GISD Place 6 Candidate Jen Mauldin


The Megaphone interviewed GISD Place 6 Candidate Jen Mauldin:

Q1: Are you supportive of additional bond measures for funding district initiatives and how do you reconcile this with the increase in paid property taxes?

Mauldin began by noting that trustees are, “not able to talk about support for bond issues, by law…[however,] we can educate but not support or endorse bond issues.” She then outlined how “The property taxes…are significantly lower than they were in ‘22…it’s gone down every year for the past five years…and bonds only go toward the specific initiative on the ballot.”

Discussing the local level funding, she also made a particular note of the level of state funding, “The district gets $6,190 per student…the inflation has hit the district but there has been no increase from the state since 2019. There are some real financial challenges with how we’re being funded now…We were hoping the state legislature’s surplus would go to teacher salaries and schools.”

Q2: What are your thoughts on the GISD budget and recent deficits in the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 budgets?

Mauldin mentioned her credentials, “I’ve worked on GISD for fifteen years and have been an administrator for many years. Doing a deficit budget is a whole new thing for school districts, but 80% of districts in the state had to do deficit budgeting…this was not something we did lightly.” She further detailed how “We’re having to look to do substantial cutting of positions, most of which are in the central office. And doing cuts in programs…[because] we were not given additional finances by the state.” She clarified that the specific programs in question are unrelated to academics or extracurriculars.

Q3: What metric do you believe should be used to measure the success of GISD?

Mauldin detailed that, “we have a responsibility to make our students a responsible citizen and workforce,” further explaining that,  “When you’re trying to make that the content curriculum must be taught in a challenging way to prepare kids for the next step,” whether it be through a technology school or going through career tech, which she noted as important alongside extracurricular activities.

Q4: What are your thoughts on the STAAR test and standardized testing in general in GISD?

Mauldin talked about the importance of a unifying state curriculum, “I am extremely supportive of our state curriculum. I’ve been around long enough to know what it looked like before [we had a state curriculum]. Basically, you could teach whatever you wanted to teach…some of the quality in teaching was not there.”

She then detailed her support for standardized testing, “If there is no assessment or accountability there is a tendency not to teach it. There is not going to be a perfect measure out there to assess it, but there has got to be an accountability measure to see what the performance of kids is on the STAAR test.” She furthered her position by qualifying through her experience, “I was a principal for 25 years in elementary school, you do a better job with kids who have difficult or economic[ally] disadvantaged students, you do a better job filling the gaps for those kids. It points [out] who is doing well academically and who is struggling.”

Q5: What are your thoughts on the role of fine arts and extracurricular activities in GISD?

Mauldin emphasized the importance of extracurricular activities, “I think it’s important because students are picking things they’re really really interested [in]…The deepest friends we make are those we spent with in band, or orchestra, or theatre, or the football team. Those are the times kids really remember. It keeps them coming to school.” She noted how extracurriculars remain important, especially for those who have trouble with academics and that, “It is important that kids be well-rounded.”

Q6: What is your top priority if you are elected/re-elected?

Mauldin detailed that her campaign website covers her top priorities, which include, “Challenging academic performance, extracurricular programs, career technology, meeting the needs of students not bound for college…the other piece I think is really important is taking advantage of the growth we see in Georgetown.” She also added, “We have got to manage student growth and our budget issues…[and] be very good stewards of the taxpayers money.”

Q7: How do you believe that GISD is responding or should respond to charter schools and the possible implementation of school vouchers?

Mauldin explained “What we have to do is make GISD the school district in the area. People will come to our schools if we have excellent programs…and their children are doing well…We have to do the very best with what we have.”

Q8: Are you concerned about explicit content or literature within GISD libraries or course content?

Mauldin emphasized that “No. We have not had one issue brought to our board.”

Q9: What do you believe is the most important responsibility of the Board of Trustees?

Mauldin said that the “Top priority is student performance and student success.”

Q10: Do you have any messages for students at Southwestern University in particular?

Mauldin wished to convey to Southwestern University students that “We are always interested in highly educated people coming to work in the school district. If there are people who have not gone through a regular education program, there are always ways to look into getting them to teach in the school district. I would like to see students be mentors and volunteers…I also think we could do a better job of having GISD go to plays and [events] at Southwestern. In our town, we are missing a wonderful opportunity to use some resources and do some programming with eachother…I thought there was real effort to get people to come [to the eclipse event at SU]. I thought that was excellent.” She furthered this sentiment by saying, “I sense a movement of integration between the University and the town, and would like to see integration between the University and the GISD.”

Q11: Do you want to share any closing thoughts with our readers about this election and the importance of voting in local races?

As Mauldin closed out her interview with us, she stated, “I hope people educate themselves on the bond issues in the four propositions. Come and vote on those issues…the word is always that it is the local elections that determine the quality of your everyday life.” She encouraged people to vote in local elections, “It is important to come out and vote for the candidate of your choice and be educated.”

Voting Information
More information about where to vote, visit The Megaphone’s look into the Georgetown May 2024 Local Elections.

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