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Tensions Develop Between Austin ISD and its Teachers Association

Photo courtesy laffy4k

Education Austin has been the lone organization representing AISD staff for the past twelve years, but now Superintendent Meria Carstarphen is opening the door to changing that, and the teacher’s association is not happy about it.

"This is an attempt to marginalize our voice. And we're disappointed that the district is taking this path," Education Austin co-president Ken Zafaris told the Austin American-Statesman. He accuses Carstarphen of seeking to punish Education Austin for its opposition to a proposal to create an in-district charter school in East Austin.

But Carstarphen denies anything of the sort, telling the Statesman that most AISD staff chose not to be represented by Education Austin, and she wants an organization that will serve more employees.

So who could possibly replace Education Austin? Other unions have been eyeing AISD, the Austin Chronicle reported last week, including the Association of Texas Professional Educators. But the ATPE withdrew its application after the district said it would have to pay for the cost of an election, the Chronicle said.

While Education Austin has limited bargaining power compared to teachers unions in non-Right to Workstates, it claims to have delivered several victories for AISD employees, including these:

  Fought to maintain two planning periods for secondary teachers for the 2011-2012 school year. Won AISD’s commitment to continue full-day Pre-K through 2011-2012 despite state funding cuts. Won AISD’s commitment to maintain Librarians at all schools. Convinced AISD to spend more than $2 million for new library books and materials in 2009-2010. Won Paternity Leave for new fathers in 2009-2010.


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.