Letters to the editor: Nov. 30, 2017

    Updated Nov 29, 2017

Re: Nov. 28 article, “Austin ISD eyes Southfield building for new district headquarters.”

What a bad idea!

Consolidating central office staffers continues the culture of that group making decisions away from the action at the schools. In this day of electric communication, there is no need for everyone at one site. Central office personnel should be placed around the district at schools, especially underperforming schools and underpopulated schools.

Every professional administrative employee should be required to spend at least one day a month in the classroom and be involved at the schools. If there is not room at some schools, get out some more of those lovely portables, to which they can walk in the rain, just like some of our students do. With the money saved from not purchasing the Southfield Building, maybe all students can have covered walkways.

LAURA SPOOR, AUSTIN

Re: Nov. 23 letter to the editor, “Laws on firearms and alcohol seem skewed.”

A reader from California lamented the fact that while in Austin, he was unable to buy a bottle of wine until a certain time of day on a Sunday, when other shoppers were buying firearms.

Yes, Texas does have some arcane “liquor laws,” and yes, that must be quite shocking to some visitors. However, I do have a suggestion that might offer a solution to their confusion. Please, spare yourselves the vexing quandary and just stay in California if you can’t handle the local customs. I’m sure your friends will understand. It’s just Texas y’all.

GARY BRANTLEY, CAMERON

Re: Nov. 22 article, “Taxpayer incorrectly says Austin school district tops other big districts in per-student spending.

PolitiFact ruled my op-ed statement: “AISD has the highest per-student funding of all large Texas districts” as false.

However, PolitiFact’s conclusions and “expert” opinions were largely based on two-year-old Texas Education Agency- audited data. Per-student funding is variable by year — and since 2015, Austin ISD’s tax base expanded 28 percent as enrollment contracted. TEA’s most recent “budgeted reporting,” which includes federal, state and local funding, minus recapture, show Austin ISD rising to second place out of the 17 large districts.

In forecasting Austin ISD’s rise to first place, I used data from the current school year, which isn’t fully spent and audited. In hindsight, I should have stuck with the TEA data that sufficiently supported my central point.

Forecasting fostered my statement “False,” but PolitiFact awarded “Mostly True” to Austin ISD’s forecasted and unaudited “no tax rate increase” claim. You can’t fact check prediction, but wasn’t that a double standard?

ROGER FALK, AUSTIN

Re: Nov. 23 letter to the editor, “Austin, UT architectural control lacking for years.

A recent writer expressed dismay with what he described as a lack of architectural control at the University of Texas and decried the “trashing” of the winning design for the Blanton Museum of Art.

If I recall correctly, it was that winning design that actually brought into action some controls over the architectural design of buildings on the UT campus. It would appear that the recent writer simply does not agree with the controls that were established.

All of the newer campus buildings built from roughly the late-1980s now blend together with the older buildings to make a beautiful campus. The earlier winning design for the Blanton would have fit into the historical architectural style of the campus as well as a modern home would fit into a neighborhood like Hyde Park. The UT Board of Regents made a wise choice in selecting the current design.

MIKE HANLEY, AUSTIN