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John McGlothlin

After 2 terms, SMCISD Trustee McGlothlin won’t seek reelection

Thursday, February 4, 2021

San Marcos Consolidated ISD Trustee John McGlothlin will step away from the board after his second term comes to an end in May. 

McGlothlin, who was first elected in 2015 to an at-large position and reelected to a second term in 2018, said serving six years is long enough for him. 

“Six years ago, I was new energy, new ideas and fresh eyes to a system and after six years I don’t feel like I’m any of those things,” McGlothlin told the Daily Record. “I think after six years a trustee, any trustee, becomes more a part of the institution or an institutional defender instead of a disrupter. So, I think six years is long enough.”

McGlothlin said he’s making the decision not to seek reelection now in order to allow for a larger candidate pool to run for the two at-large positions up for election on May 1. 

“I think having a local school board is great,” McGlothlin said. “It’s a great way for the community to plug in to their district, and make sure their school is reflecting the community’s values, and that we get to elect it among stakeholders that show up on a Saturday in May is amazing because people have to work for your vote. It creates a high level of engagement. 

“I think the best thing for the district would be five to eight quality candidates running for these two positions in May so that the issues in the district could have everyone’s attention,” McGlothlin added. “I think that moves the district forward. Contested elections, an engaged voter group, a good candidate pool, I think those things are real positive. I would encourage anyone to do it.” 

Reflecting upon his time on the board, McGlothlin highlighted three accomplishments the district has seen in the last six years: Increased teacher pay while reducing the tax rate; professionalized administration from the superintendent’s cabinet down to campus leadership with a focus on students and college readiness; and modernizing SMCISD facilities through the 2017 bond.

“I think we accomplished a lot,” McGlothlin said. “We increased teacher pay during those six years more than in any six-year period in history, while, at the same time, reducing the tax rate and adding money to the fund balance. I think that’s our most enduring accomplishment because by increasing teacher pay we’ve increased the quality of the applicant pool every time we have a position and that should mean more qualified teachers in the classroom. To be able to do it and still put money back into fund balance has the district well positioned fiscally over the next decade.” 

As McGlothlin’s term on the board comes to an end, he said the board and the district continue to struggle to address classroom teacher ineffectiveness.

“If you ask any parent, a year with an ineffective classroom teacher sets your kids’ education back for many years,” McGlothlin said. “I wish that was an area that we had done more in. I wish we would have been able to determine how we’re going to specifically identify ineffectiveness. What standard will be applied uniformly? And then we’re able to set up those expectations so that we did more in that area.”

Additionally, McGlothlin saw an increased politicization of education over the last few years, saying that it would likely continue and possibly accelerate in the future. He said during his time in San Marcos schools as a student that it was a commonplace where everyone went to school. “No matter where we came from in and around San Marcos, we all went to San Marcos High School,” McGlothlin said. “The genius of the system and the design by drawing everyone in, you create a common educational experience and then cream will rise and the folks that move on will rise in the same system and all boats rise together. We’ve gotten away from that in the community.”

“That was something that was happening before I came on the board. That was one of my motivations for running is that we started losing students to private schools,” McGlothlin said. “We started losing students to charter schools. We started losing kids to Wimberley ISD or surrounding schools. I thought that the only way to stop that student drain was to increase the effectiveness of our district. Make them want to stay. Make it the best option for everybody. I think the politicization threatens the unity that’s required for all the parents to sign up for that common experience. If they feel that their worldviews, the worldviews of their family aren’t respected and honored in the schoolhouse, they’re likely to find another place.”

With only a handful of meetings left, McGlothlin said he doesn’t have any particular items he’d like to see passed, stating “I’m there for what comes up.” 

McGlothlin doesn’t have any immediate plans to seek elected office after his term on the SMCISD board ends. He wants to spend more time with his family, his law firm and working with neighbors and friends. 

“My wife, Marissa, and I want to reengage in some of the neighborhood work we were doing before joining the board,” McGlothlin said. “I’ve talked about this a number of times with folks who have wanted to run or lose in a race or feel disengaged, I don’t think you need an office or title to make a difference. So, I want to focus on things we were working on before where we were making a deep impact in several lives outside of elected office. I went on the board because I thought I could have an impact on a larger number of kids and move the community forward. But in that office you’re really having a small impact on thousands of lives. It’s a different view but I think both are valid and both are needed.”  

San Marcos Record

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