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AUSTIN EDITION - District's new CD already in demand

By Tim Ruzek

truzek@postbulletin.com

Austin public schools is coming out with a new compact disc in a few weeks that will be available for free downloading online.

There's no need, however, to worry about any music-piracy issues.

The information-loaded CD is the district's latest promotional tool for families, businesses and service organizations, Superintendent Candace Raskin said. People can request a copy of the CD or download it from the district's Web site.

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"We wanted something that was a visual for our community," said Raskin, who added that she wanted to give people a way to be informed about and feel connected to the schools.

The disc is in draft form awaiting editing marks from administrators, and a few additions, said Raskin, who will give a "sneak preview" of the CD at a Austin Rotary Club meeting on Monday.

Some of the CD's contents include information and pictures on the schools, district leaders, graduation requirements, programs, departments and various other aspects.

Five district staff members -- Jayne Gibson, Kayleen Jerlow, Norma Olson, Patricia Parlin and Jason Senne -- produced the disc. All are working toward their administrative licenses, Raskin said. Hormel Foods Corp. technology staff also helped.

Compared to printing a product with similar information, producing a CD and offering it online is more affordable, and it is easier to change, Raskin said. Previously, when families called for information on the district, staff had to compile the facts and try to put it together in a professional style, she said.

The new disc will make things much more easier and accessible, Raskin said.

"I'm excited about it, and I think it'll be fun," she said.

The school system can factor into a family's decision as to whether to move to Austin, Raskin said. Some Realtors already have asked Raskin for 10 copies of the disc.

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Joe Fuhrman, a local Realtor, said he plans to use the promotional CDs in the Austin information packets he gives to clients. When people have asked him about the school system, Fuhrman said he only has been able to give them the district's Web site address.

The district's human resources director, Chris Picha, for example, also plans to use the CD as a marketing tool to attract new teachers and other staff, Raskin said.

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