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Questions from the BISD Forums

Question 1 Integrity is a way of life. Provide specific examples of how you have lived with
integrity in your professional and private life.

Integrity is a way of life and is a necessary leadership quality. As a non-commissioned officer for
32 years, my integrity has never been question in peace nor in war. Now days, I dont cut
corners, I dont cheat on my taxes and I give Jefferson County an honest days work for an
honest days pay. I dont work in the same building as my supervisor if I am late he knows, if I
have to leave early he knows. I teach my children and those around me to do the right thing
because it is the right thing to do.

Question 2. What do you plan to do to prevent the same problems from reoccurring within
BISD and the School Board?

I think it would be virtually impossible for BISD to fall into the ciaos state it was once in. The
incoming Trustees will be under a microscope and I intend to be a transparent as I can be as a
Trustee, not because I have to but because I want to. I believe that proper checks and balances
coupled with transparency will go a long way in restoring public trust to BISD

Question 3. As a student who has experienced and seen a tragic flaw with education at my
high school, how will you make sure behavior issues in schools are not interfering with
academics studies for all student.

Tricky question and I am sorry that any student had to have experienced this. Schools are
designed to be a neutral place where students have the opportunity to learn. Discipline is a
problem and it appears to be growing but as a trustee I cannot can guarantee that we have the
resources to wipe it out in its entirety. Hopefully student will use the chain of influence,
teachers, counselors, AP, Principal, parent and School Board to resolve their issues.

Question 4. What regrets, if any do you have of the way business was conducted by the past
board of trustees? If elected and serve what would you do differently.

My biggest regret is that I didnt get involved, I attended a few of the School Board meetings
but it was like attending a fight and I stepped back. The issues were no longer about the
education of children because they were not the focus.
Question 5. What qualifies you to make policy decisions about education?

I am uncertain if I am qualified at the present time to make policy decisions about education as
of now. However, I have written and implemented policy in the past on various other fields.
Since deciding to run for the BISD school board I have attended training locally hosted by the
TEA and I have an account with TASBO for references.

Question 6. How would you make the district better?

I will make the district better by bringing a desire to humbly serve, the community, educators
and students. I will be visible and engaged with the schools and attend their activities making it
a positive atmosphere. I will bring 32 years of leadership experience to the table. I am a unifier,
despite what some people are saying BISD is turning the corner in a major way.

Question 7. What schools have the highest numbers of Spanish speaking students? Are their
needs being met?

BISD has a very large Hispanic population most families live in an area called the Avenues and
so are the three schools listed; are Fletcher Elementary, Martin Luther King Middle School, and
Central High School. As to their needs being met I would say No but it is not the lack of BISD

Question 8. BISD does not have enough bilingual staff what would you do to attract more
qualified bilingual personnel?

Excellent question and my first answer is that we probably have bilingual teachers in BISD but
they dont have the bilingual certification. The certification is very hard to obtain because the
requirement are strenuous. BISD as a district cannot afford to sit around and do nothing
because the certification is hard to obtain we should send information out to districts in the
valley area inviting them to our job fairs. We could attend all Job Fairs 250 miles of Beaumont
especially to areas that have heavy Hispanic populations to attract teachers. Offer incentives,
relocation cost, and even small bonuses.
Question 9. What are your thoughts on all the drug and alcohol abuse in our kids?

Drugs and Alcohol destroys lives each and every day and our students are no different. We can
write and implement a policy that may curtail the use and possession of alcohol and drugs on
campus. It may even be smart to have a person or two trained to counsel students with
problems with drugs and alcohol abuse. Then refer the student to the appropriate agency.

Question 10. Do you support ESL and bilingual education?

Yes I support English as Second Language (ESL) because it is a viable program that benefits all
and as the Hispanic population in this area grows this program has residual effects. As the
vernacular of the child grows and improves so does the parents and their siblings as well.

Question 11. How would you help BISD students if you win, specifically those with special

As a trustee I am not so certain how I can directly help students other than ensuring that the
district is operating within state and federal guidelines. I do not like the STAAR test and I wish I
could do away with it BUT that is not within my scope of responsibilities.

The state of Texas and the Federal Government gives us additional moneys for those classified
as special needs. Medicaid also pays additional money, perhaps those with special needs
should slightly get a little more money per student.

My special needs son finished from West Brook High school, we did not allow him to sit in class
and twiddle his thumbs. When he had his ARD we asked for the progression plan for him there
were blank stares. So we gave them one, he has always wanted to work in a restaurant so his
daily job was to help pre-prep the food and set the cafeteria up before lunch eat and then go to
class. When lunch was over he would help clean up and go back to class. In the class of 32
students he was the only student to do this and to this day I cannot tell you why.

Question 12. What is your opinion or position on limiting the number of students per
classroom? Teacher / Student ratio.

In my opinion the ratio should be 1/18-20, that would be ideal for an educator and they would
be very effective. This being the real world so up to 25 student a good teacher can still be
effective. Right now I think in some classes the number is 1/28-30 in some classes which makes
the classes hard for educators to manage.
Question 13. What is BISDs Ranking among other Texas schools of the same size?

BISD is ranked 836 out of 932 school districts in the state of Texas.
Traditionally school districts are not ranked based on sizes but the closest thing I could get is
that (we) BISD are 61 out of 100 large districts.

Question 14. What is the biggest change you want to make if you are elected?

I would take a hard look at salaries for our educators and those would support them. I think
the student ration with the pre-k must be addressed and the sooner the better. I would also
like to be more visible and more active within the schools meaning I would be approachable
than board members have been in the past.

Question 15. What is your position on transgender bathrooms?

I dont have no position on transgender bathrooms, it is a federal law that is being challenged in
other states. I am incline to believe that BISD Board will follow the guidelines once they are
established by the government.

Question 16. Sitting on the board, what is your stance on protecting both students and
parents from ICE entering the school and terrorizing our undocumented community?

It is wrong for ICE to use any school in BISD as a place to target undocumented students. I
would seek to partner with any federal agencies within our jurisdiction ensuring sensitivity as
they do their jobs. Our schools should be the very last option apprehend undocumented
immigrants. However, at the end of the day it is what it is, the Federal government and they
have authority and as long as they operate with in their guidelines there isnt much we can do.

Question 19. It is believed by some that having paid parent coordinators on economically
disadvantaged campuses helps to get parents involved. If there is merit to this thinking, if
elected will you address this matter.

There should be more than enough data to determine if this position is working because it is
not a new program. I think the numbers can prove that parental involvement has increased due
to the parent coordinators. It may not work at all schools but in the ones that it does keep
them. Unfortunately, I was told that the number of parent coordinators have been cut for the
upcoming school year.
Question 20. If elected you work on a plan to attract and retain highly qualified teachers high
economic disadvantaged schools.

Yes I will work on a plan to recruit, attract and retain highly qualified teachers to work in highly
economically disadvantaged school. HOWEVER, we have some highly qualified teachers in this
district that may rise to the challenge if offered an incentive.

Question 21. How close are the school district trustees to actually handling the money, do
they write checks and pay bills?

The board doesnt handle money, they do not write check or pay bills. The closest trustees will
get is to authorize payments.

Thomas P. Sigee Sr.