The saying "the more things change, the more they remain the same" is appropriate considering the upcoming school board election in Robstown. Five years ago, I was elected to the Robstown ISD (RISD) Board of Trustees. My pledge was to improve school facilities and make RISD an academic powerhouse. I worked tirelessly to get voter approval for new school construction and successfully nudged RISD to make a paradigm shift in favor of curriculum and instruction; however, the race is far from over!

There has been a good deal of progressive change in RISD the past five years. We brought in talented individuals to shore up curriculum and instruction and embarked on a plan to replace decaying campuses with new ones. Soon, our last major project, Robstown High School will be transformed into a "college like campus" that students and the community will enjoy for years to come. I am pleased to report that the State of Texas will pay 60% to 66% of our bond commitments on these projects.

Recognizing the disparity between our wages and those of neighboring school districts, the board implemented a plan to equalize salaries so RISD can attract and retain the best teachers and administrators. The good news is that RISD will continue to pay 100% of employees health insurance. To my knowledge, no other school district in the area or region does that!

We took advantage of a Tax Rollback Election (TRE) allowing RISD to secure an additional $1.8 million from the state every year. The first year RISD received TRE funds the board awarded financial incentives to every RISD employee. A professional food service company was hired to provide our students with the best meals possible. Physical improvements continued on every RISD campus, and more are on the way, including completion of a district wide energy efficiency program. The district is already seeing savings averaging $40K per month from this program. RISD is the economic engine of this community, and in that regard, the district is in good financial shape.

There's plenty more to brag about, but suffice it to say that I leave the board knowing RISD is headed in a positive direction, which brings me to the issue of change by way of a school board election. The electoral process works well, and believe me, our democracy can withstand change in political leadership to the point of thriving on it.

To my colleagues on the board, thank you for your continued service, and to those who aspire to serve on the school board, may your Tour of Duty be as rewarding as mine.

Osvaldo Romero, Master Trustee

Robstown ISD Board of Trustees