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Group Rallies Against Possible Eastside Memorial Plan

Hallway at Eastside Memorial High School
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News
An empty hallway at Eastside Memorial High. Teachers in the Global Tech High on the campus have filed a group grievance against their principal.

Alumni from Johnston High School, now known as Eastside Memorial High School, are voicing concern over the likely takeover of their former campus by John Hopkins University. Austin ISD signed a contract with Johns Hopkins as part of a state-mandated effort to revive sagging test scores at the school. But Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams still has to approve the plan, or shut down the campus.

Johnston High graduate Gavino Fernandez says he and other alumni recently met with Williams and asked for someone else to take over.

“Since we’re realigning and renewing this whole academic process, we’re going to start new. And we don’t want to begin again in three more years.  So we want the top quality institution to come in and repair this academic void that we have in our community. And he was open to that.”

Fernandez says the university’s project in Baltimore has an inconsistent record in serving low-income communities similar to those around Eastside Memorial High School.

Austin ISD expects the Texas Education Commissioner to announce his decision on Eastside Memorial by June 5.

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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