Dube hoping to return to school board

Published 10:01 pm Friday, September 23, 2022

Former Austin Public Schools Board member and chair Carolyn Dube feels she’s got more to contribute and it’s why she is running for another term on the Austin Public Schools Board.

“I wasn’t done yet,” Dube said. “One term on the board and I was hitting my stride. I feel like I left too many things undone.”

Carolyn Dube

Dube, who held one term in which she was board chair for two years of a four-year term, was voted out in the middle of a global pandemic, which was filled with uncertainty. Internally in the district, the board was also in the beginning stages of hiring a new superintendent as it prepared for the retirement of David Krenz.

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It was that opportunity to  continue to serve locally that drove Dube.

“I work in higher education and my day job is in education, but not specifically K-12,” Dube said. “And it’s not part of the community. I love being able to use my professional schools (experience) to benefit my community.”

Dube said that she felt that the board, not just herself, was hitting their stride and that they were gelling as a team.

Besides the team atmosphere, Dube said she loved the minutia of board workings.

“I enjoy policy meetings and enjoy talking about strategic planning and doing long-term vision,” Dube said. “I do a lot of that in my day job. It seems like a nice fit to be able to use that experience to help here in Austin.”

Dube, should she be elected, will be dealing with the ramifications of the referendum like many others in the district, one way or the other.

Having served during the second attempt at a referendum, Dube is in favor of getting it passed in order to further augment the education at the school.

“I want to see a renewed investment in our community, from the community,” Dube said. “My thought on this is that we have seen many years of really great fiscal responsibility from the school district and we have also seen a lot of generosity from The Hormel Foundation, which has allowed us to get some nice facilities to have. Those things come up every time we have a question of finances and taxes and things like that.”

Dube is aware of the fallout should the referendum not pass, including having to take a close look at where the budget can be trimmed.

“If we don’t, there are some tough decisions and tough discussions to be had,” she said. “Where can they cut and not create too much pain — that would be very difficult and a sad conversation to have.”

She also said that had the referendum been passed in 2019, those discussions wouldn’t be at risk of needing to be had.

Referendum aside, however, Dube also would like to take a good look at school facilities, noting the projected enrollment increase that’s already starting to be seen at the kindergarten level. The closing of the Community Learning Center and movement of those students elsewhere in the district has also served as a reminder of a far-reaching vision.

“Because we are a growing district, we are definitely feeling the squeeze,” Dube said. “I know they are coming up with creative ways to deal with space.”

“It’s a good problem, but it’s still a problem,” Dube added about the rising enrollment. “We’re still growing.”

At the heart of her reasons and the idea of running a second time would be being able to serve her community once again.

“Coming back to Austin, it really has given me a true appreciation of what our community has and how our school district has established the foundation our school district has,” she said, noting she has worked in small and big schools.