Andersen: Work for the classroom

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 19, 1999

Larry Andersen collects postcards of Austin.

Sunday, September 19, 1999

Larry Andersen collects postcards of Austin. He’s got more postcards of Austin they one would ever think were printed.

Email newsletter signup

A person could learn a lot about Austin in the early- to mid-1900s by studying those postcards.

Learning is what Andersen is all about.

"My focus is the classroom," said Anderson, who is one of 16 candidates vying for four seats in the Nov. 2 Austin Board of Education election.

Andersen was a 32-year teacher and coach at Austin High who retired two years ago.

"I know what it takes to make it happen in the classroom," Andersen said. "All decisions should be made with the idea ‘How does it impact the classroom?’

"They all don’t go out for football, but every kid is in the classroom."

Andersen is the father of three sons who graduated from Austin High School; his wife is retired from working in a podiatry clinic.

When he decided to make a bid for the board, he built his platform on three standards.

The first is the classroom, the second is "helping restore a sense of trust and spirit of cooperation between the board and community," said Andersen, whose believes the current board is perceived as "aloof."

He’s traced the district’s budget overspending and subsequent cuts last year to "questionable hiring," and promises to do his own homework before taking on the role of decision-maker.

"A board can’t simply be made up of ‘yes’ people," Andersen said. "You need to take the time and do the homework and research for yourself."

Andersen said he isn’t afraid to vote "no."

Finally, Andersen asks that all the employees of District 492 be treated with respect and dignity. He recalled the days of high school principal Ray Wescott, who Andersen admired even when Wescott told him "no."

"He left you feeling good," said Andersen, who said the relationships between the administration/school board and the teachers/support staff has moved in the direction of being "adversarial."

"We need to get back on the same page," Andersen said, "because our combined goal is to make it happen in the classroom and to educate the students."

One last thing, Andersen is not in favor of raising activity fees as the board did earlier this summer at Ellis Middle School.

"We’ve got to engage kids," he said, "and encourage them to get involved in as many activities as possible. When high school is done you don’t want them saying ‘I wish I could do it all over again.’ "