Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 03:00 PM CDT
| The filing deadline passed earlier this week for municipal and school elections on the November ballot in Texas. Four AISD positions, including one at-large spot, are up for election. Two seats, also including that at-large spot, are open seat races.
At-Large Place 8: Gina Hinojosa vs. Mary Ellen Pietruszynski
Place 8 is one of only two district-wide seats on the AISD board. Outgoing member Annette Lavoi has endorsed Austin attorney Gina Hinojosa.
Hinojosa's campaign team is made up of Democratic consultants David Butts, Mark Nathan, Mark Littlefield and Susan Harry. Former Mayor Gus Garcia is also her campaign treasurer.
Pietruszynski's staff reportedly hails from the tech and charity sectors.
Both these candidates expressed their intentions months ago, and this race is expected to be the most high profile and heated of the four. This contest may also be a referendum on Superintendent Meria Carstarphen, if the AISD elections get the attention from voters that they deserve, with Hinojosa criticizing the superintendent and Pietruszynski supporting her.
Of note, Hinojosa is a hard Democrat, having voted in every Democratic primary since 2004. Pietruszynski normally just votes in general elections but voted in the Democratic 2008 primary.
Read below the fold to learn about the other races and how we might see a major change in AISD policy next year!
|Trustee District 2: Sam Guzman (i) vs. Jayme Mathias
Sam Guzman is the incumbent in this East Austin district, and along with Board President Mark Williams, was one of the fiercest advocates for the IDEA charter school coming to Austin.
The Reverend Doctor Jayme Mathias is a serious challenger who recently left the Roman Catholic Church for the American Catholic Church, and who has been a religious leader in East Austin and Dove Springs for some time. Democratic Eastside activist Sabino "Pio" Renteria is his campaign treasurer.
Based on voting history, both of these candidates appear to be hardcore Democrats.
District 3: Christine Brister (i) vs. Ann Teich
District 3 is in north Austin, and Brister is often a member of the same 6-3 majority bloc as Sam Guzman.
Teich was a teacher for 27 years and also Vice President of the North Austin Civic Association. She claims that District 3 is often overlooked, even though it might have as many needs as East Austin.
Again, this is an election between two hardcore Democrats.
Trustee District 5: Amber Elenz vs. Charlie Jackson
District 5 covers a large chunk of central Austin as well as some of southwest Austin, and is currently represented by outgoing board president Mark Williams. Williams' announcement to go was a late surprise, but this race should still provide healthy competition.
Elenz is the outgoing president of the Austin Council of Parent-Teachers Associations, and she was poised to run the minute that Williams announced he was leaving. Her campaign treasurer is Staley Gray, part of the Texas Parent PAC leadership team.
Jackson is a tech professional with an ambitious goal to "make AISD a "Top 10" school district within four years." His campaign treasurer is Guadalupe "Lupe" Sosa, an ACC Trustee.
Jackson has heavy Democratic primary voting history, and Elenz voted in the 2008 and 2012 Democratic primaries while abstaining from other March contests.
It is not immediately known where either candidate stands on IDEA or other policies advocated by the superintendent and outgoing incumbent.
Hopefully, every AISD candidate gets amble opportunity to make their case to voters. School board elections (especially for these entirely volunteer positions) are barely funded. The November electorate in presidential years, meanwhile, is large, and these match-ups will rarely highlight anyone's long ballot.
The balance of the AISD board, however, can literally be flipped during this election, which will have a major impact on Austin public education policy in any result.
IDEA Charter schools,
Mary Ellen Pietruszynski,
Austin Independent School District,