The first plank in Mayor Steve Adler's 2014 education campaign platform was to hire an education outreach coordinator who would report to him and work with representatives from the city, businesses, foundations, nonprofits and school districts to improve education.
As mayor, Adler made that hire: Kazique Prince, a 2014 candidate for the Austin school board and the founder of a cultural competency consulting firm. Prince, paid $65,000 a year, told us by phone he started working for the mayor's office in February 2015, the month after Adler took office.
Adler hired Prince on a temporary basis using money he saved by not taking the mayor's salary, the Austin American-Statesman reported. But the mayor hopes to keep Prince on board permanently, mayoral spokesman Jim Wick said by email.
In April 2015, the City Council approved adding three mayoral staffers--Prince among them--plus an additional staffer for each of the 10 council member offices for the rest of the fiscal year, which runs through September. The council said it would discuss whether to continue those positions the next fiscal year during summer 2015 budget deliberations.
By phone, Prince estimated he spends 80 percent of his time working on education issues with his remaining time devoted to public safety and economic development in East Austin. Prince said education is key in developing a stronger workforce--which is a piece of the economic development puzzle.
As a candidate, Adler had a bullet-point list on his campaign website of four areas he wanted the education outreach coordinator to work on: setting priorities with districts and "funding partners" and tapping both public and private resources; studying city and philanthropic spending on children and identifying programs that have worked; helping nonprofits and school districts design performance measures; and soliciting input from Austin families. Prince said working on all those areas is within the scope of his job.
Prince said he's talked with "many" parents, whether they are parents who call the mayor's office or parents he meets at events. Thanks to his school board campaign, he said, he already had relationships with numerous families.
Since taking the city post, Prince said, he's met with the superintendents of the Austin, Eanes, Pflugerville, Leander, Round Rock, Manor and Del Valle school districts.
Prince said the mayor is inviting local leaders to participate in President Barack Obama's My Brother's Keeper initiative--which is meant to help close academic and opportunity gaps for male African-American and Hispanic students. And, he said, the mayor's office is considering how information gets transferred when students move from district to district, which he said is particularly important for those receiving social services related to affordable housing, health or other issues.
We rate this an Adler PROMISE KEPT.
Promise Kept — Promises earn this rating when the original promise is mostly or completely fulfilled.