‘Irresponsible.’ Union opposes AISD’s plan to close 12 schools


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin ISD’s employee union called the proposal to close 12 schools in the next three years irresponsible during a school board meeting Monday.

“This is irresponsible is what this is, it must stop, we must do more,” said Education Austin President Ken Zarifis. “I know that the district can do better.”

Zarafis said teachers and staff feel left out of the process and don’t believe cuts that impact the classroom is the best course of action.

District spokesperson Reyne Telles said the district can’t afford to pay for full staffs at campuses, which in some cases have enrollment that’s less than half of the maximum capacity. 

“We’ve put out all the things that we think are feasible on the table for consideration, and we’ll be taking a closer look at those things in the coming months,” Telles said.

Frozen to Transfer Schools

Also Monday, Austin ISD announced the schools that will be frozen to transfers during the 2019-20 school year.

Considerations include enrollments that exceed capacity, construction and programming, such as dual language campuses, according to the district.


Schools to be frozen to transfers:

  • High schools: Akins, Austin, Bowie, Lanier ECHS and McCallum.

  • Middle schools: Fulmore, Lamar, Murchison and Small.

  • Elementary schools: Baldwin, Baranoff, Becker (pre-k through third grade, dual language only), Blazier, Brentwood (except kindergarten), Casis (except kindergarten), Cowan, Doss, Gullett (except kindergarten), Hill, Kiker, Maplewood (except kindergarten and sixth grade), Menchaca, Oak Hill, Reilly (pre-k through third grade, dual language only), Ridgetop, Summitt (except kindergarten), Sunset Valley (pre-k through third grade, dual language only) and Zilker (except kindergarten).

The district will begin accepting transfer requests starting January 2nd.

AISD Name Change

After voting last month to rename just one of a possible four campuses originally named after Confederate leaders, the Austin ISD board took up the issue again. It voted to rename Zachary Taylor Fulmore Middle School, after former journalism and social studies teacher Sarah Beth Lively, who attended Monday’s meeting.

The board did not take up a vote to change Sidney Lanier Early College High School or John H. Reagan Early College High School.

Bowie High Repair

After extensive vandalism at Bowie High last week, district staff passed an emergency action item. It will allow the district to skip the normal process of selecting a contractor and putting out bids to fix the school’s broken windows.  The vandalism caused an estimated $150,000-200,000 in damages.

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