And in just six weeks, trustees will be faced with a slew of recommendations by the superintendent: transforming two Northeast Austin middle schools into single gender schools; creating a new boys school and a community initiated charter school at Travis Heights Elementary; and making improvements to athletic programs and facilities. They will also determine whether to call for a May 2013 bond election.
One of the board positions Polo Shirts For Men Design is elected at large by voters all over the district; the other three represent single member districts and are elected by voters within their geographic areas. All serve four year terms.
Mathias, 40, would be the first non Hispanic to represent the area since the school district moved to representation by geographic area in 1992. He said residents asked him to run "to restore the trust that so many in our community and District 2 believe to be shattered" by the actions of the school board and administration.
"We need to regain trust in our leadership," said Elenz. "My whole approach to solving issues is more collaborative."
Guzman, 66, said the district is on the right track. Under his tenure, the board hired Carstarphen, graduation rates Lacoste T Shirt Polo
Hinojosa said she was against the IDEA partnership because it went against the will of the community, and she said the board has as much responsibility as the administration in improving community engagement.
School board member Sam Guzman and his challenger, Dr. Rev. Jayme Mathias, former pastor of Polo Shirts Cheap Online
Hinojosa, 38, said voters are calling for a trustee who will be an "independent voice" and not "rubber stamp" the superintendent's proposals. "While it's important to work with the superintendent it's healthy to be critical when there are issues and problems," she said.
Jackson contends the board has been "sidetracked" by controversial issues such as proposed school closures in 2011 that brought hundreds of protesting parents to board meetings; the IDEA partnership; and the proposal to open single sex schools at two middle schools.
He said Guzman ignored community protests against partnering with IDEA and criticizes what he describes as school district decisions that are made top down rather than with community input.
Jackson, 53, who provided technology training to teachers and administrators over the past 20 years, said the choice is between keeping the "status quo" of the current administration and or leading a new era of change.
Cristo Rey Catholic Church, seek to represent District 2, an area of East Austin that was deeply affected by the board's decision to convert two neighborhood schools to in district charter schools.
Austin school board race for 4 seats could shift balance of power
Elenz, 49, is the ex president of the Austin Council of PTAs and has been endorsed by Williams which her opponent says is evidence she supports the board's current track. But Elenz bucks that assessment, saying she's against the recent "top down" decisions by the board and administration, including the IDEA partnership.
District 8, at large
This is the first time the school district has held an election in November, and turnout is expected to be higher due to the presidential election. Past school board races were held in May.
"We need school board members that know how to govern and set a strong direction for both administration and educational goals," said Jackson.
Last December's vote to partner with South Texas charter operator IDEA to manage two East Austin schools has been a divisive issue in the election. So has Carstarphen's leadership, and what some say is her administration's lack of transparency and failure to take community wishes into account when making decisions.
Pietruszynski, 53, said there has been an "oversimplification" of highly charged issues in the campaign. "If you look at the issues in a vacuum, they're not likely to make the best decisions for the school district as a whole," she said.
Guzman, who has been on the board since 2007, defends that partnership, saying that change had to be made to schools in an area of the city that has been long neglected. He said he believes that within two years, IDEA will "be a model in the community."
The race has largely boiled down to Guzman's support of the superintendent's initiatives and the partnership with IDEA to take over Allan Elementary and Lacoste Polo Shirts Sale Ebay
In District 5, Amber Elenz, a community and school volunteer, and Charlie Jackson, a technology consultant, are vying for the seat now held by board President Mark Williams, who isn't seeking re election. The district includes much of Central and West Austin.
Three of the positions up for grabs are now held by trustees who tend to support Superintendent MeriaCarstarphen's more controversial recommendations; that dynamic could change if candidates who appear more critical of her administration win at least two of those seats.
While the board "at times" has been weak in directing the superintendent, Pietruszynski said, she also praised Carstarphen for her fiscal management and ideas, and feels she has been responsive in working with board members. Pietruszynski said it's incumbent on district leaders to come up with good ideas and continue to offer high performing academic options to students.
The most heavily financed race is for the at large seat sought by Gina Hinojosa, an employment lawyer, and Mary Ellen Pietruszynski, a former middle school teacher and executive director of the Sooch Foundation, a charitable organization that finances district initiatives for struggling students. Hinojosa is backed by trustee Annette LoVoi, who is vacating the seat and has objected to some of the superintendent's reforms. LoVoi was one of two trustees who last week voted against Carstarphen's contract extension through June 2015.
and attendance have improved and dropout rates have decreased. By most academic rankings, Austin now scores the highest among other major Texas urban school districts. Last week he voted to extend Carstarphen's contract.
While Elenz said the district must improve how it engages the community in decision making processes, she also praised Carstarphen's efforts to improve school attendance and academic performance, including higher graduation rates. She said the district is "moving in the right direction."
Eastside Memorial High schools.
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