Questionnaire: William Carrasco, candidate for Socorro ISD Board of Trustees – District 2
1. What motivated you to run for the SISD Board of Trustees?
I can offer a unique perspective that will benefit all stakeholders. A strong educational foundation determines a person’s quality of life now and in the future. I will work to empower students, teachers and the community to ensure everyone receives the opportunity to succeed.
2. Please describe your personal and professional background.
I have a master’s degree in Social Work with 19 years of experience working as a licensed social worker. Thirteen of those years were in public education in the positions of school social worker and special education counselor. I have worked at the campus and district levels. I am a key volunteer and Games Management Team member for Special Olympics Texas, and I am a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).
3. How do you earn a living? Do you plan to continue if elected?
I am a social worker for Anthem, and I plan to continue with my employment.
4. Please describe your education. Where did you get your high school diploma? What higher education degrees and certificates have you earned, and from where?
I attended public schools in El Paso and California. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Kansas State University, and a Master’s degree in Social Work from The University of Texas – Pan American.
5. What experiences in leadership do you have that qualify you for this position?
In my employment, I have been a manager and have supervised university interns.
In my volunteer work, I have been Event Director and Games Director for Special Olympics El Paso, and currently serve on the Games Management Team.
6. If elected, what would be your three key priorities while in office? How would you fund these priorities?
The first priority is to address family and staff concerns about how the district has handled and will handle the pandemic. Second is addressing the high turnover rates. Addressing this issue will save the district money on recruitment and training of new employees. Finally, buildings should be updated to ensure the safety of all stakeholders. Funding can be maximized by using available grants and reducing wasteful spending.
7. Have you previously run for office? If so, please list the positions sought and the outcome.
8. Have you ever been arrested or charged with a crime? Have you ever had a civil judgment against you? Have you ever been in arrears on local, state or federal taxes? If so, please provide an explanation.
No arrests. No civil judgments against me. No tax delinquencies.
9. If elected, would you have any potential conflicts of interest that you are aware of that would impair your ability to serve? Please explain what they are and how you would avoid the conflict.
10. Do you have any family members; children or grandchildren who attend SISD schools?
I have a niece who attends an SISD elementary school.
11. What are the qualities of a good public servant? How does your background and experience reflect those qualities?
The qualities of a good public servant are transparency and a strong ethical foundation. I have a history of serving my community in many ways through my employment and volunteerism. I adhere to the strict Code of Ethics of NASW and follow the Texas Social Worker Code of Conduct. I strive to treat everyone with dignity and advocate for social change – especially as it relates to our most vulnerable populations.
12. What are your values when it comes to a citizen’s access to government and transparency? Would you take calls from the media and agree to interview requests?
I value transparency at all levels. I welcome calls from the community, media, stakeholders, and anyone else who has an interest in our community.
13. How do you think SISD handled learning during pandemic, in terms of face-to-face vs. remote learning? How do you balance safety and quality education?
The pandemic exposed the lack of technology for schools and students. This caused an unfair disadvantage for some of our most vulnerable students. It also placed those same students at greater risk because they were the first to return to face-to-face instruction due to their technology and internet needs. Safety and quality education need to be balanced using the Site Based Decision Making (SBDM) framework so that all stakeholders are able to work together to meet the unique needs of each child and family.
14. How would you rate the district’s response to COVID-19? Has enough been done? What more could be done?
The response that I have received from the community is that the district did not apply the feedback that was requested from families when decisions were made. This led to confusion, frustration and anger. Again, the SBDM framework must be applied to ensure decisions support the needs of everyone.
15. What lessons were learned from COVID-19 and how can it influence improvements?
It was apparent that students did not have the necessary access to technology needed to effectively learn from home. This pandemic taught us that we need to take care of all students and listen to all parents. It also taught us how invaluable our teachers are; we need to support them in every way we can.
16. Are there any departments within the district that you believe need to be reformed? If so, what are they?
The special education department has a very high turnover rate as well as some classrooms with high student to teacher/staff ratios. This needs to be addressed in order to provide consistency and safety for our most vulnerable students. Additionally, the counselors’ caseloads are too high. This can be addressed by increasing the staff and building a robust social work program.
17. What kind of relationship should a district/the board have with its community, such as parents and advocacy groups?
Districts should be transparent, listen to concerns, address issues in a timely manner, use a community schools approach, and always act in the best interest of families and teachers. Schools should be a safe and welcoming place for students, families, teachers and staff.