The fate of District 1

Latisha Anderson elected as representative to LASA's district

Somaya Jimenez-Haham, Staff Writer

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Five seats on the Austin Independent School District (AISD) Board of Trustees were on the ballot during the midterm election. There are nine members in total, each of whom serve four year terms. Austin is divided into seven districts, with each district represented by one board member. The two remaining seats are at large positions. The board is charged with setting the tax rate, establishing district policies and budgets and choosing the superintendent for AISD.

Principal Stacia Crescenzi appreciates the variety of candidates running in the Board of Trustees election. According to Crescenzi, when candidates have opposition, voters are more likely have questions about issues important to them.

“I was pleased in terms of just the energy and interest around what’s considered to be a very local election,” Crescenzi said. “I think that things like the School Board, things like City Council, there’s a lot of power in terms of good you can do for your community in these positions, so I was excited to see the energy around it.”

LaTisha Anderson was elected as District 1 representative for East and Northeast Austin, which includes LASA and Kealing magnet schools. Anderson, a native Austinite and AISD parent, currently serves as Volunteer Commissioner for African American Quality of Life for the City of Austin and the Boundary Advisory Committee since 2012. Previously, she served as PTA President for two elementary schools in AISD and has volunteered in various other AISD committees.

“I first took an interest in running for District 1 Trustee when former Trustee Cheryl Bradley’s term ended, but felt I didn’t have my name out there enough to get the support that was needed to win,” Anderson said. “I have a passion for advocating for students who need educational support and advocating for all students to receive a quality education and felt this was the time for me to run.”

English teacher Corey Snyder said that when making a decision on representing districts, while data is valuable, it can sometimes be misleading. Therefore, along with data, listening with an open mind and getting various perspectives is an important factor in properly representing districts.

“Don’t just put it all through surveys and meetings. Even in surveys and meetings, be sure the questions that you’re asking are real questions because it’s very easy to manipulate data and make it say what you politically need it to say,” Snyder said. “Just because it looks good on paper, and on the budget, and on the audit and on the test scores, doesn’t mean that it’s actually what you’re claiming it is.”

In fall of 2021, LASA is planned to relocate to Eastside Memorial High School’s current campus, while Eastside Memorial High School will be moved to the old Anderson High School in Central East Austin. Regarding this move, Crescenzi said it was necessary to work well with the staff and principals and keep everything in the students’ best interests.

“I think there’s a lot of worry, trepidation, and excitement around the move, in equal measures. I think people are as nervous as they are hopeful,” Crescenzi said. “I think there’s a lot of adults that want to put their hands in the mix and get what they want out of different parts of this move, but really we need to keep the students at the center of it.”

Crescenzi hopes the new representative prioritizes visiting schools and speaking with the staff and the students. According to Crescenzi, this is especially important for District 1.

“Let us feel like you’re here to work with us,” Crescenzi said. “None of us are perfect. We all have things we’re proud of that we want them to be proud of as well, and we all have things we need to work on, and we don’t want to be adversaries in that. We want to stand together, problem-solving and move forward.”