Ernesto Gallegos, the husband of one of 42 employees who were laid off by the Robstown Independent School District last year, hopes to unify the school board and find a way to retain teachers and students.

Gallegos is a 1977 graduate of Robstown high school, and served 14 years in the Marines and U.S. Army after graduation. For the past 25 years he has worked as a general contractor in Robstown.

Gallegos and his wife, Linda, have been married 27 years and have three children, including a daughter who is currently enrolled in the Robstown ISD.

Gallegos said he decided to run for a place on the school board after Linda, a certified teacher's assistant who had been with the district for eight years, was laid off in the fall.

"I'm not coming trying to challenge it," Gallegos said. "They didn't have any money, and then it turns out that after the audit they had a $3 million surplus. That fueled my interest in running for school board, knowing that somebody isn't doing a great job out there."

If he is elected, Gallegos said he will make retention of students and teachers his top priorities.

"Every community hurts when there is a lack of students going to school," Gallegos said. "I would like to see input from the community to see what we can do to help them out and keep our kids in school."

Gallegos said he would also work to unify the school board.

"We need to work together to get things done the way they're supposed to," Gallegos said. "I know in the past that they've been split.

"I love this community, I just think we're lacking leadership."