McCarty: Trim administration

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 23, 1999

Sherri McCarty started hearing the support when she ran for mayor in the last election.

Thursday, September 23, 1999

Sherri McCarty started hearing the support when she ran for mayor in the last election.

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Now as the Nov. 2 Austin Board of Education election for four open seats approaches, McCarty is hearing the support again.

She said she hears a lot from parents and citizens who don’t believe they have a say in what goes on in their community.

"They don’t feel the school board is a very parent-friendly environment," McCarty said. "It’s an intimidating process. That’s why we aren’t getting parents to the meetings."

McCarty, a widow with two children who graduated from Austin High, remains involved in the lives of young students as a grandmother – her three grandchildren are in the Austin school district.

Despite news out of the school district that class sizes are on target with what the district promised in 1994, McCarty is not happy with the numbers.

"It’s a real problem in the higher grades at Ellis Middle School and high school," she said. "I’ve heard horror stories. The teachers are overwhelmed. We really need to work on that. We need 20 or fewer students in the classrooms."

McCarty is also in favor of trimming down the administration. She said she can’t understand the reasoning behind paying each elementary school to have its own principal. McCarty suggested appointing one master principal for the four elementary schools and placing lower-salaried assistant principals in each of the elementary schools.

"We spend too much money on administrators," she said. "I think it’s important to point out that it’s not the school board or administration, but the teachers and our children that must be our priority …

"We need teacher’s aides more than we need another person sitting behind a desk."

More aides, McCarty insisted, would allow for more one-on-one learning in the classroom.

McCarty, an Austin High grad who worked in retail management for most of her life, has made a difference in the school district before. In 1969 as an Ellis Middle School ninth grader, McCarty was part of a school-wide walkout protesting a plan to take extra-curricular activities out of the school.

She and others didn’t participate in school for three days, returning after school officials promised not to cut the programs.

"We made a difference," McCarty said, "and I can make a difference again as a parent and grandparent."