FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 1, 2012
Lorie Barzano, Co-Chair
CoalitionSAUS (Strengthen Austin Urban Schools)
CoalitionSAUS Hosts State Board of Education Candidates Forum
CoalitionSAUS (Strengthen Austin Urban Schools) will host a forum of the candidates running for the TX State Board of Education (SBOE) in Districts #5 and #10. The state’s recently re-districted electoral maps split the Austin Independent School District (AISD) in half between the two SBOE Districts. (District #5 runs south from just north of Lady Bird Lake and District #10 runs north from there up past Round Rock and Georgetown.)
The Coalition, a parent led group, has members representing nearly two dozen AISD public school campuses located on the north, south, east and west sides of Austin in both SBOE Districts 5 & 10. The group has invited candidates from both Districts to share their views on state and local educational issues and answer parent questions about school budgeting and the role to the State Board in setting education public policy.
“CoalitionSAUS, an affiliate of Parents Across America, has serious concerns that the Department of Education, TX Education Agency and School Districts make major decisions about the future of our children without including parents at the table when building the framework and direction of those decisions,” states CoalitionSAUS Co-Chair, Nicole Austin. “As parents, we recognize that we must make our voices heard initially at the voting booth in order to secure any voice in the decision-making process.”
The State Board of Education (SBOE) consists of 15 elected members with all seats up for re-election this year. Each seat represents a District with a population of approximately 1.6 million people. Once elected, the members of the SBOE work with the TX Commissioner of Education, currently Robert Scott, and the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to oversee the governance and operation of the Texas public school system. Texas has more than 1,200 school districts and charter schools, with 8,200 campuses serving 4.7 million students. The SBOE adopts rules and establishes policies that govern the educational programs and services provided for those students.
Among its various duties, the State Board of Education oversees the investment of the TX Permanent School Fund; mandates what classroom teachers must teach through state standardized testing; reviews and adopts instructional materials based on curriculum standards; approves the creation or revocation of open-enrollment charter schools; adopts certification and ethics rules for teachers and school administrators; and sets goals for the TX public school system through the adoption of four-year plans.
“Throughout the past year, CoalitionSAUS members have spoken monthly at Austin School Board meetings, repeatedly requesting that the District establish an authentic, transparent, participatory, community-based process for making facility use decisions such as closing a school or re-purposing a campus,” elaborates Lorie Barzano, CoalitionSAUS’ other Co-Chair. “We think it imperative that local school districts and the State Board of Education include parent voices in the process for making the decisions that impact our campuses and affect the education of our children!”
The CoalitionSAUS Forum of State Board of Education Candidates (Districts #5 and #10) takes place on Wednesday, May 2, at 7pm, at Space 12 (3121 E. 12th St. in Austin.) The event is free and open to the public.
PAA and the Coalition SAUS do not endorse candidates; this public forum is for informational purposes only.