An Out of the Box Option Presented to AISD Master Plan Task Force

January 14, 2011 at 2:38 pm 1 comment

This week was a busy one for the Austin Independent School District (AISD) Facility Master Plan Task Force. They released options to counter a projected budget shortfall of $45 million for the coming 2011-2012 school year. They released these options Monday night in advance of two meetings during which community members were able to voice their thoughts about the proposed options. While some attendees recognized that the Task Force did not have an easy job, the overwhelming community response was opposition to their recommendations.

The options presented at the meeting were various plans that included the potential closure of nine schools throughout the city. Among the criteria the task force used for their recommendations was “education enhancement” in which a judgment of whether the educational needs of students were being met. However, each option proposes closing schools (eight elementary and one middle school) and all of the elementary schools have a state ranking of recognized or exemplary.

During the meeting, community members spoke of their concerns regarding how schools slated for closure were chosen. Some questioned why schools with exemplary state rankings or a rich history in the community were on the list; others asked the task force “why are your eyes on the east side” for closure? And most eloquently, one woman stated that a community’s schools are the heart of the community – and the currently proposed closure plans ignore that.

Near the end of the remarks, Janie Flores, an East Austin community member stepped forward with an alternative option for AISD’s budget challenges. As President of the East Austin College Prep Academy (EACPA) Parent Council, Ms. Flores presented a proposal in which EACPA would be allowed to lease Eastside Memorial High School from AISD. As she stated, this option would not only provide a quality education to students in East Austin, but could also divert existing funds to save other schools in danger of being closed.

In the end, when the meeting adjourned around 8:40pm, the task force had heard from others in support of this East Austin College Prep option and the impact it may have on the other schools.

If you want to encourage the task force and AISD to seriously consider alternatives to the recommendations, such as the East Austin College Prep option,  please:

·      send letters to the editors of the local papers – here are talking points that can help you write these letters.

·      submit comments to the AISD Facility Master Plan Task Force – here are templates to help you start your submission.

·      Other ideas and resources can be found at Save Austin Schools.

The important thing is that we do something. This is about our children and our communities.

– Narissa Johnson
Ext. Communications Manager

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Entry filed under: Community Empowerment, East Austin, East Austin Children's Promise, EAustin College Prep Academy, Education, Govalle/Johnston Terrace Neighborhood, Politics.

Make Your Voice Heard by the Austin Community about AISD’s Plans Make Your Voice Heard by the AISD Facility Master Plan Task Force

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