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AISD Board To Consider Revamp Of Disciplinary Schools

Tonight's board meeting starts at 7 p.m. at AISD headquarters.
Photo by Nathan Bernier/KUT News
Tonight's board meeting starts at 7 p.m. at AISD headquarters.

Austin school board members will meet tonight to talk about six major proposals for next school year. One plan would change how AISD operates its two disciplinary schools.

Students at Austin ISD’s disciplinary school for 6th to 12th graders, the Alternative Learning Center (ALC), are absent one out of every four days, on average.  The district average is one in 20.

ALC students are more likely to be black or Hispanic. They are more likely to be poor. And they tend to require more special education services.

AISD superintendent Meria Carstarphen says that needs to change. Her recommendation is for the district to contract with an outside provider to run the program. She also wants to reduce the number of students sent to disciplinary campuses, by providing more counseling and guidance services.

Campus staff would also presumably rely more on in-school suspensions, because the proposal includes adding one paraprofessional at each high school to monitor in-school suspension rooms.

AISD says the change would save the district $328,000 in the first year, but it has not yet identified a third party to run its disciplinary campuses.

The other five proposals for the 2012-13 school year being discussed tonight are:

  1. Move 6th grade students from Barrington, Brown and Walnut Creek elementary schools to their respective middle schools. Create a Pre-K center at Dobie Middle School. Teach Pre-K through 8th grade at Webb Middle School, and send some Barrington students to Webb. First year cost is $5.5 million. (AISD document)
  2. Expanding two-way dual language programs to four schools, including a Chinese-English program at Doss Elementary. First year cost is $192,000. (AISD document)
  3. Using money from a bond approved by voters in 2008 to start building an elementary school in north central Austin. First year cost is $29.2 million. (AISD document)
  4. Contract with Lewisville, Texas-based Responsive Education Solutions to create an in-district charter school for high school dropouts. First year cost is $1.4 million (AISD document)
  5. Contract with Weslaco, Texas-based IDEA Public Schools to create an in-district charter school focused on college prep. First year cost is $570,000. (AISD document)

The board will discuss the proposals tonight and then vote on them next Monday.
AISD board members will also talk about a proposal to create two single-gender middle schools, whether to sell its headquarters at 1111 West Sixth Street, evaluate transfer policies at overcrowded schools and consider whether to redraw some attendance zone boundaries.

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @KUTnathan.
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