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Election Day is Today (5/5)

I graduated from SMHS, my wife graduated from SMHS, our four kids and most of our friends’ children go to public school in San Marcos — to my family, SMCISD is the most important organization there is.  I ran for school board three years ago, because I wanted my kids and our neighbors kids to go to the very best school around and I thought I could help by focusing all the resources on kids and teachers and by insisting that our kids from San Marcos could be just as successful beyond high school as any kids born anywhere else.  Getting elected to lead the most important organization that there is was one of the biggest honors of my life.

In three years, we came together as a board and committed to graduating ALL kids college AND career ready.  We gave teachers and staff the biggest compensation increase in any three-year period in history.  We passed a bond to add more than $100 million worth of additional classroom space and campus improvements without increasing taxes.  We hired a superintendent, cabinet, and campus leaders who learned education by teaching in the classroom, then we supported them with every resource they requested to add rigor to the curriculum, to hire great teachers, and to improve student performance.  We capped elementary class sizes, funded full day pre-k, added GT coordinators, expanded music and art programs, and launched a dual language program. And we did all of this while operating at a surplus instead of deficit.

On that record of accomplishment, and with the support of my family and my board colleagues, I decided to run for re-election and let the voters decide if who I have been as a trustee warrants three more years leading the most important organization that there is.  Turnout in early voting was very low, so election day may very well decide this race. If you are pleased with where the district is now compared to three years ago and satisfied with who I have been as a leader, I humbly ask for your vote.  Voting today is from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.  This race is the only thing on the ballot, so it shouldn’t take more than a couple minutes.  Here is a map to determine where your polling place is.  2018 SMCISD voting maps.  If you live in district 4 (green on map), go to Crockett Elem. (teacher parking lot library entrance).  If you live in 5 (dark blue), go to Travis Elem (front).  If you live in 3 (light purple), go to Dunbar.  If you live in 2 (light blue) go to Three Rivers Church in Martindale or Housing Authority on Sturgeon.  If you live in 1 (peach), go to Health Dept on Broadway.  Please vote.

Why You Should Go Vote

Potential Voters,

Early voting has been underway for two and a half days, and turnout numbers are very low.  I get that there are many demands on people’s time and that this election is not as important to everyone as it is to the candidates, but I think everyone should go vote as soon as possible for the following reasons:

(1) This is going to be a low turnout election. The at-large positions are the only item on the ballot, and there are only three candidates for two positions.  We had more than twice that many candidates last time I ran in 2015 and we had a single-member district up as well.  With so much less motivating folks to go, there are going to be fewer voters.

(2) Your vote matters all the time but can mean more in low turnout races. Local school board elections can turn on one or two votes; they literally do across Texas.  In fact, our last single-member election in San Marcos was decided by a handful of votes.  There are always voters who support a candidate but don’t make it out to vote.  In an election like this, that could cost the candidate you support the position.

(3) Our schools really matter.  San Marcos has a single school system.  All of us who have been here forever went through the same schools that our kids attend.  Our schools prepare our kids for college and the job market, so as our schools go, so goes the community. If we do not close achievement gaps between the economically disadvantaged (which most of our kids are) in the early grades, most of our kids will never catch up and have a chance.  If the schools do not increase the number of kids prepared to excel in higher education, our community’s economy will suffer for lack of innovation and knowledge and new businesses.  If the schools do not insure everyone is literate and numerate and have interpersonal skills, those that choose career will not be able to earn a living wage to support their future families.  Over the last 30 years, our schools haven’t done as good a job in these areas as our kids deserve.  As a result, poverty has increased, and some of our kids have left our schools for neighboring districts or private options — creating even more issues for our schools to overcome.

(4) This election really matters.  In 2015 and 2016, a majority of the school board turned over to new faces.  The change that has come since has been huge. We increased educator’s compensation more than in any three-year period in history, we completely turned over administration and installed educators with classroom experience in every position, we passed a bond to provide classroom space to keep classes small, and we implemented core commitments that everyone work to increase college readiness and eliminate achievement gaps.  All of that change has laid the foundation for big student performance gains and stands the chance, if we keep our focus and dedication, to change the future of San Marcos forever.  This is not a time to change course or bring in a new trustee who has questioned the district’s direction.

So please don’t leave it until election day and set a time in your calendar to get vote at one of the following places in one of the following time slots:

Hays County Justice Center, 712 S. Stagecoach Trail, today – Friday until 5:00, Saturday 10 to 2, Monday April 30th until 7:00, Tuesday May 1st until 5:00.

Live Oak Health Dept, 401 A Broadway, today – Friday until 5Go Vote

Early Voting Starts Today

Dear SMCISD Voter:

I was elected to the Board of Trustees for SMCISD in 2015 after campaigning on six specific goals: (1) lowering our elementary teacher-student ratio, (2) attracting and retaining the greatest teachers in the world, (3) having great central administrative leadership and strong campus leadership, (4) creating direct pipelines from graduates of our academies to jobs at a living wage, (5) greatly increasing college readiness by challenging our achievers, and (6) changing the culture from the boardroom, to the administration, into the campuses and classrooms and among the students to one of pride in who we are and a pursuit of excellence.

During my term, we made great progress towards many of these goals.  We capped elementary classes at 22 and then unanimously took a $100 million bond to the voters that passed overwhelmingly and will provide more classrooms at every level of education.  We gave educators the largest compensation increase over any three-year period in history, including fully funding health care, while maintaining a budget surplus.  We brought in a new superintendent and cabinet with deep curriculum and classroom experience and a dedication to closing achievement gaps so that demographics don’t have to be destiny.  Together, we took the first steps towards changing the culture, and made progress improving graduation rates and increasing rigor across the curriculum so that our kids are ready to go anywhere and everywhere.

I am running for re-election because the next three years are going to determine whether we continue the strides and see large performance gains or fall back into the cynicism and distractions of the past.  If elected, I promise to continue to work to reduce classroom sizes, continue to improve the quality and contentment of our faculty, support our administration, and improve college and career readiness. In the past, many of our kids were told they were getting college and career ready, when they were not.  Those who have gone on to college are too often forced to take remedial classes or are failing out before earning a degree.  Meanwhile, many of our career readiness courses are roads to nowhere, or at least roads to no jobs.  We must increase the rigor at every level, and we need to be prepared to deploy the resources the teachers need to get this done.  If we don’t, another generation of San Marcos graduates will be consigned to continue in poverty or worse — it’s that important.

I’d appreciate your vote,

John W. McGlothlin

Debate Forum Tonight

The local League of Women’s Voters is hosting the first candidate forum of this election tonight at the San Marcos Activity Center at 6:00 p.m.  We’d love to have you join us there.

Flyer for LOWV School Board Forum 2018

Go Vote Now!

Polls are open right now and until 7:00 p.m.  Please go vote!  And when you do, share your experience here to give us some encouragement for the long day.  Thanks for your support!

Polling Places

District One    New Life Christian Center, 4000 Highway 123, San Marcos

District Two (San Marcos)   San Marcos Housing Authority (CM Allen), 820 Sturgeon, San Marcos OR Martindale Baptist Church, 103 Main Street, Martindale

District Three    Dunbar Center, 801 MLK Drive, San Marcos

District Four     Crockett Elementary, 1300 Gerard, San Marcos

District Five     Travis Elementary, 1437 Post Rd., San Marcos

Closing Argument

Election Day is Saturday May 9th.  Polls close at 7:00, then shortly thereafter, two candidates will start preparing to serve on the board and the other five will fade back.  I am asking you to vote for me, because my varied experience makes me the most qualified to serve and I have expressed the most specific vision to get things accomplished.

Experience with the struggling — I am one of only two candidates who grew up here in San Marcos, and my wife did as well.  We attended schools that others have merely visited, and we have four children from 4 to 16 so we have seen, firsthand and recently, every level of schools in the district.  Through our church and nonprofit work, we have been a part of neighborhood engagement that worked and seen a lot that didn’t.  Throughout the campaign, I have talked the most about the poverty 70% of our students are stuck in, and it is one of the driving forces behind my desire to serve on the Board and improve their future.  For more, please read this.

Experience with the other 30% — The 30% of kids who pay full price for their lunch don’t get as much talk and attention in our district.  As a result, we have seen many local families send their kids to private schools or neighboring public schools.  This trend has a tendency to snowball – kids who perform better on standardized tests leave, their exit causes our scores to lag which causes new families to locate elsewhere and exacerbates our challenges.  That is not the future that I want for our schools, but you don’t reverse the trend by cutting GT coordinators, cutting fine arts, or by spending more and more class time on test preparation.  We need to listen to what parents have to say; we don’t need to lecture parents or tell them that what they have seen and experienced is not true.  Parents who have choices won’t choose second best for their kids, so we have to make the tough choices necessary to make sure that San Marcos is the best choice for all kids.

Work Experience — I am one of only two candidates who currently work in the private sector and outside education, and I think varied professional experience is a big advantage to any board.  When a board is predominantly folks from education and the public sector, there are many voices and experiences left out of the decision process.  Plus, our board has been dysfunctional at times and too often in conflict, so my experience as an attorney dealing all day in conflict uniquely qualifies me to resolve a lot of the tension.  Finally, I have seen bad things come from individual board members who delve too deeply into what should be within the province of campus heads and administrators — being a board member is not designed to be a full-time job, and it won’t be for me.

Specific and Accountable — I have openly and clearly stated that I do not support using fund balance for an administration building, that I oppose further use of waivers that allow elementary class sizes in excess of 22, that the district should cover the full cost of health insurance for its teachers, and that I will not support a budget that does not increase the percentage of money going into instruction from its current level of 58.3% to 60% in the first year and to even more in the years that follow.  These are specific ways that I believe we can achieve my vision of putting all our focus and resources into the classroom where a great teacher inspires students.  As a voter, you cannot hold the other candidates to their vague ideas, but you can hold me accountable to these specific promises.

In the past, voters have taken a chance on candidates who have ignored real challenges in favor of nice talk of perception issues, but such naivety has slowed down our schools improvement.  We can’t take a chance this time; there are 7500 kids in our district right now and they cannot wait another three years for a board that is ready to make the tough choices required to give them the education they deserve.  Vote for me tomorrow and let me go to work for you.

Finish Strong — Go Vote on Saturday

Over the entire course of early voting which ended on Tuesday, 818 voters cast a ballot for the at-large position on the SMCISD school board.  I feel I probably received 250 to 400 of the early votes, but with an expected 1,000 voters on election day, the result of the election is still very much in doubt.  That means if you were not able to make it during early voting, I really need you to find the time Saturday to go vote.  This takes a little bit of preparation, because you have to know where to go and when to go there.  I thought I would give you some help.

The 5 polling places are open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.  I bet everybody has plans at some point on Saturday, but there is probably 10 minutes you can carve out of that 12 hour window.  If you leave it to fit in around whatever your day becomes, life will probably crowd out voting, so please take a moment right now to set the time aside on your calendar (real or mental) to go vote on Saturday.

Where:  This is the tougher part, but we can do it Rattlers.  First, find the district you live in on this map:

Then at the time you set aside, go to the corresponding polling place for your district:

District One    New Life Christian Center, 4000 Highway 123, San Marcos

District Two (San Marcos)   San Marcos Housing Authority (CM Allen), 820 Sturgeon, San Marcos
District Two (Martindale)  Martindale Baptist Church, 103 Main Street, Martindale

District Three    Dunbar Center, 801 MLK Drive, San Marcos

District Four     Crockett Elementary, 1300 Gerard, San Marcos

District Five     Travis Elementary, 1437 Post Rd., San Marcos

If everybody who has responded to my message votes, Saturday will signal a fresh start for our district, but we can only make it happen if you go vote.  Also in the next two days leading up to Election Day, please share and like my election video or any other post that resonated with you so that we can get the word out.  I feel like I have asked a lot from folks over the last six weeks, but Sunday morning this will all be over.  Let’s make sure we do all we can until then to finish strong.