School Board Q&A: Mother Jane would aim for more technology

Published 5:05 am Monday, August 13, 2012

School Board Q&A: Mary Jane, running for Austin Public Schools Board


Q: Why are you best qualified to represent Austin on the School Board?

A: I have children and grandchildren that currently attend Austin Public Schools. I have grown children who attended Austin Public Schools and boy, do they have ideas! No kidding, I am hearing good ideas all the time and I’m proud to say that my kids care about keeping a budget and being practical.


Q: Board members may be asked over the next few years to make budget cuts. What initiatives or programs would you cut? What do you consider too important to cut?

A: I know what program I would not cut — Music. Everywhere I go I hear parents and students say how they wish they had full time orchestra, band, and choir teachers. I’d love to see people clean out their closets and bring in instruments to donate to our schools. We have so many kids with talent and potential who need them and they will keep Austin proud with their effort and music.


Q: What technological advancements do Austin Public Schools need to make?

A: We are so blessed here in the U.S.A so I won’t call it a technological need, but one idea to look toward is transitioning in the future away from traditional text books to simple, durable tablets or other computer based learning texts, not completely but to some degree. So many students own smart phones, iPads, etc., so another idea is to think of how we can incorporate the tools they already have in the classroom for learning.


Q: Sumner Elementary School is in the second year of its year-round, 45/15 schedule. If Sumner students show gains in state comprehensive testing scores, should 45/15 be adopted district-wide?

A: Maybe the 45/15 schedule is something parents should get to vote on if the tests show a gain in scores. My daughter likes it for her family but I know others that feel frustrated with it.


Q: What programs, initiatives or class would you like to see added to the district?

A: Our son Caleb, who graduated last year from the University of Minnesota, said it would be helpful to add a class that has greater focus on a better understanding of programming, software, the internet and the technology we’re utilizing more and more on a daily basis. Two of our grown sons mentioned that there should be more classes on managing your finances, budgeting etc.