Meet the Lake Forest School Board Candidate: Austin Auen

Austin Auen is running for the At-Large seat on the Lake Forest School District’s School Board. Other candidate Q&As can be found here: Phillip Thomas and Stephanie Justiniano Johnson.


Austin Auen

Age: 20

Occupation: Real estate agent

Educational Background: High School Diploma in 2015, plans to graduate from Wilmington University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting in 2020.

Tell us about your involvement in the community?

“I pride myself on being involved in my community not only through my vocation, but through my position as Treasurer for the W. T. Chipman PTO. I’ve headed several fundraisers for the PTO, as well as been a judge for the 2017 Mr. & Mrs. Irresistible Pageant at Lake Forest High School which raised money for the Make A Wish organization and the local food bank. I also try and make every school board meeting if my schedule permits it. The largest mark I believe I leave in the community is my work with Delaware YoungLife which is a youth Christian organization that is somewhat like a youth group that helps break down, teach, live and lead the Christian faith.”

How will your experiences shape your views on the school board?

“My experiences as a small businessperson, as well as my experiences with Lake Forest and other local organizations, has shown me what works on both a financial and personal level. I’ve worked and shaped a business on a budget, so I have no trouble reading down every line item of our budget and seeing what is waste, and what is vital to the district. Being a part of the PTO, I have the experience of listening to both parents and students and getting things done instead of merely talking about getting things done; and last, but certainly not least: As a young person who was recently a student in our system, I have seen just recently what certainly works and what certainly hasn’t worked.”

What are your top hopes and goals as a candidate?

“My top hope and goal would to be a school board member that when parents, teachers and even students are asked about, they can say that I stood up for their interests, that I was tough but fair and that I left a better Lake Forest for the next generation of students. I want to be the financial watchdog on the school board. Parents, teachers, business owners and many others live on a tight budget, they spend what they have. We should do the same.”

Where could LFSD improve?

“One of the problems I’ve seen and heard is that the rules and handbooks are all executed differently in each school, namely the dress code. The dress code needs to be talked about in our community with parents and the fact that it isn’t enforced the same way in every school is a huge disconnect for parents with students in the different schools of our district.”

What is LFSD doing well?

“Lake Forest, in my own opinion, has done so well with bringing in new leadership and employees they are some of the best I’ve ever experienced! Working in the Chipman PTO has shown me just how dedicated many of them are! They love the students and show a real spirit that is great to see!”

How should Lake Forest handle finances going forward as state leaders consider some school district funding cuts?

“Cutting funds is never easy; it’s never fun, but usually it’s necessary. I believe now more than ever we need someone with a business background to be on that board to sail the financial ship so that we can ensure tax payers that we will not be raising their taxes in the near future, while still ensuring a quality education to their children and our future. Watching every line item of that budget is the key.”

The final draft of the Every Student Succeeds Act has been released. What are your thoughts? How will this affect students in the LFSD?

“I don’t believe the ‘star rating’ is a meaningful way of showing what is occurring inside of a school; LFSD will continue to comply with the ESSA and, really, I believe our students will succeed no matter what regulation is in place.”

Bullying: Is this a problem for LFSD? What are your thoughts on how it is handled within the district?

“Bullying is a problem no matter what school you walk into and unfortunately, it’s a real problem. And a big one. Our students should be able to have the peace of mind that they are walking into an environment everyday where they can do their job which is to learn what they can and not get hurt. I’ve heard some tremendous stories from parents about what their child has been through and as a former victim of bullying, I will fight for tighter anti-bullying programs in the schools and more punishments for bullies.”

What else, if anything, would you like to tell voters?

“I would just like to tell the voters that I’m the candidate that is here for you 100 percent of the time. As I’ve been door knocking, I’ve been giving my cell number out as a way for parents to call or text at any time with a question or concern. I’m the candidate who has been to the board meetings and has voted in every school board race since I was able at age 18. Not everyone can say that; I certainly can. I’m the candidate involved in the PTO and the day to day dealings of students and I’m the candidate with a business background that can really get to the meat of our budget. I bring to this board absolutely no bias, just a want to improve not only our schools, but our communities so that when businesses think of Delaware, they think Felton, Harrington and Frederica. Better schools equal better home values, a better workforce and better citizens, three things I think we all hope for. I humbly ask for your vote on May 9th! Any questions or concerns can be sent via my email austinforlake@gmail.com or my cell 302-264-7967.”

 

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