Cruz, Board of Trustees welcome new members

Education Austin group urges board not to increase class sizes, take away teacher planning periods; board votes to rename Allan Building after Anita Ferrales Coy


Olivia Watts

Kristin Ashy, who recently was elected to the Austin ISD Board of Trustees representing District 4, is sworn in by exiting District 4 representative Julie Cowan while her husband and children watch from behind. Photo by Olivia Watts.

Bella Russo, Elisha Scott and Olivia Watts, staff reporters

Monday’s Board of Trustees meeting was a busy one. At the meeting, the board swore in newly elected trustees and thanked those trustees that were exiting the board. Four McCallum orchestra members — Julian Casas (cello), Lucy Hamre (violin), Mason Shackelford (viola) and Kavya Srinivasan (violin) — performed to mark the occasion. The board thanked many community organizations and individuals for their service to the district.

We don’t think increasing class sizes is best for kids so we want to stop it.

— Education Austin President Ken Zarifis

The board also officially acted to rename on of the AISD schools named after a historical figure with Confederate ties when it voted to rename the Allan building (which at one time housed Allan Elementary) after Anita Ferrales Coy, a former principal & district administrator. During the open forum period of the meeting, a group of former Fulmore Middle School students joined the daughter of longtime educator Sarah Lively to propose that Fulmore be renamed after her. The board ultimate took no other action to rename the other three AISD campuses named after figures connected to the Confederacy in some way.

Prior to the meeting, Education Austin sponsored a rally to raise awareness and protest some the proposed solutions to AISD’s budged deficit. Education Austin president Ken Zarifis urged the crowd to speak up in negotiating a budget that would best suit the needs of all AISD students and teachers.

“That’s what we’re here for; we want to know if this is best for kids, and we don’t think increasing class sizes is best for kids so we want to stop it,” Zarifis said.

“We don’t believe it will save the money that they say it will save, we don’t believe it will create a better educational reality. Don’t look at the classroom to cut away; look at administration, look at these big buildings, look at all the ways you could save money, but don’t take it away from the kids or the teachers.”

After the rally, the group joined the AISD board meeting for public comment, where they faced the newly sworn-in Board of Trustees in advocating for fair class sizes, planning periods for teachers and better pay for teachers.

We are pleased to share our exclusive photo gallery of images from Monday’s eclectic and energetic Board of Trustees meeting.

Photos by Bella Russo, Elisha Scott and Olivia Watts.