Saturday, April 19, 2014
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Two compete for school board seat

Two candidates are competing for a seat on the BISD school board. Recently, the Belton Journal provided Manuel Alcozer and Mike Cowan with a questionnaire to help the voters know more about the positions of each candidate. This is the second of a two-part series.

What do you feel are the top three issues that the school board needs to address in the next two years?

MA: The explosion of violence that has occurred in recent times in various parts of the country (involving schools) is an issue that requires immediate attention and action. The safety of our students is a primary concern for me. It is an issue that does not leave room for error.

The safety of our students begins with the policies established by the school board. It will require a concerted effort by the board of trustees and our administrators.

As stated in response to the previous question, the increase in student population and changing demographics, and the challenges this brings is an issue that will undoubtedly require the school board's attention in the next two years.

Within a relatively short period of time, we will have constructed a junior high, two elementary schools and made significant expenditures in our athletic facilities. We will have to assess and analyze the success of these projects to use as foresight as a potential guideline for future growth. With this growth we will see significant changes in personnel, increases in transportation expenditures which will result in an appreciable increase in our district budget.

MC: I believe the top three issues for the BISD Board to address over the next two years are as follows:

-effective planning for the opening of three new schools in the district and the continued long range planning for facilities with a continued strategic approach to land acquisitions,

-continued focus on lobbying for a fair, equitable and adequate funding system for the taxpayers and kids of our district, and

-ensuring our district remains competitive in attracting and retaining the best teachers, coaches, administrators and support staff for our students and our community.

Why do you feel that the voters should vote for you?

MA: I am a lifelong Belton resident. I am a graduate of Temple College (formerly Temple Junior College) and the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor. I was away from Belton while attending law school at SMU in Dallas. Upon graduation from law school, I was offered an opportunity to practice law in Dallas, Austin and other areas, but I chose to return home. I have raised my family here. My wife is also a graduate of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. She is also an educator. My oldest son Seth is a BHS graduate and college student. My daughter, Bekah, is a sophomore at BHS and my youngest son, Alik, is in the fourth grade at Sparta Elementary.

I am passionate about our community and our way of life. The school system is an integral part of what makes our community a desirable place to live. I have the experience, education and skills necessary to be trustee on the BISD school board.

I will be forever grateful to the Belton school system and what it has done for me. Coming from a household with two illiterate parents, and one parent that did not speak English, I realized at an early age the importance of an education. This was instilled in me by my parents, teachers and coaches. I am the epitome of the benefits of an education. In short, Belton schools helped me become a winner. I want to help do the same for our students.

MC: I have a unique appreciation for all BISD stakeholders. I have six years experience on the Board of a high-growth, 5A school district. I am a BISD graduate, a taxpayer, a local business operator, a 2nd generation BISD Board Member, the proud father of three BISD students (and one BISD graduate), and the honored husband of an educator. And, I will continue to combine all aspects of my experiences toward pursuit of greatness for BISD.