School candidates agree on budgetsPublished 6:55pm Saturday, August 11, 2012
It seems most Austin Public Schools Board candidates have plenty to agree on.
Almost all of the candidates responded to the Daily Herald’s questions in advance of this year’s primary election, which takes place Tuesday, Aug. 14. They gave their viewpoints on plenty of school subjects, from technology to budget cuts, the 45/15 schedule and state comprehensive testing.
Many candidates agreed that if budget cuts were necessary during the next several years, the most important thing to protect would be the teacher/student ratio in the classroom.
“The student-teacher ratio is the last area you want to affect,” Dick Lees said. “All other areas should be examined first.”
When it came to technology, some candidates were satisfied with the recent gains made by the district, including an infrastructure update done at several schools over the summer.
“Technology is important for the development of the 21st century skills that students will need for future jobs,” said Carol McAlister.
When it came to the year-round, 45/15 schedule used by Sumner Elementary School students, candidates were reluctant to say they would take the relatively new initiative district wide if state comprehensive test scores showed Sumner students were making large gains. Many said the issue should be put to a public vote before the board made any decisions.
“Being 45/15 district-wide could be a long-term goal, but there are going to be obstacles in many families that would make this unfeasible for the short term,” said Kathy Glowac.
As far as new programs or initiatives go, many candidates had ideas ranging from increased elective classes like physical education or music to finance and other classes with “real-world applications” that students should learn. Above all, many candidates said an increasing emphasis on math and science classes would serve the district well.
“In the wake of global competition, America cannot ignore the importance of math and science to our children’s future success,” said Don Leathers.