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Burnt Orange Report Endorses Gina Hinojosa for AISD At-Large Seat

by: Burnt Orange Report

Mon Oct 22, 2012 at 04:00 PM CDT

Gina Hinojosa, a longtime progressive community activist, is the best choice to replace Annette LoVoi on the AISD board in a critical at-large seat. Hinojosa has the preferable perspective on public education and a willingness to engage the community in supporting our public schools.

Hinojosa, a civil rights and employment lawyer, became actively involved in the Save Our Schools movement when her family's neighborhood school was slated for closure. A 20-year resident of Austin and graduate of UT's Plan II Honors program, Hinojosa has a broad background in volunteer community service and a history of working well and listening to others.

We have serious qualms about Hinojosa's opponent, Mary Ellen Pietruszynski, who works as executive director of the Sooch Foundation, an educational foundation that supports charter schools. Her campaign is being bankrolled by her employer, Nav Sooch, and his business partner at Silicon Labs. Given the volume of money they have invested in this race, there are concerns that the tech duo are trying to buy a seat on the AISD.

The two candidates also differ in their perspective on working with embattled AISD superintendent Meria Carstarphen, who has rankled many community members by  insufficiently considering public input -- particularly from East Austin -- in district decision-making. Pietruszynski seems content to simply let Carstarphen do as she pleases with our public schools, and wrote a Statesman Op-Ed to that effect. Pietruszynski also wrote an op-ed supporting the IDEA charter school in East Austin, which took over a neighborhood public school and turned it into a charter against the wishes of the students' parents, who opted out in such numbers as to curtail the program.

Hinojosa is an extremely capable, impressive woman who will listen to parents, and bring a valuable citizen activist voice to the school board. She is the best choice to both hold the AISD superintendent accountable and engage the public in the continued effort to improve our public schools. We unanimously and enthusiastically urge AISD voters to support Gina Hinojosa for the At-Large seat.

Early Voting: Monday October 22 - Friday November 2 --- Election Day: Tuesday, November 6

Click here for a map of Travis County Early Voting Locations. For all other counties, please contact your County Clerk's office.

Endorsements are made based on a weighted consensus of the staff, which guides the type and tone of endorsement. Members of the Burnt Orange Report staff employed by campaigns abstain from voting on those races.


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