Parents of students at Pease Elementary, one of four schools the district voted in November to close, say they are dismayed the Austin Independent School District has revoked previously approved transfer requests.
Unlike the other schools getting closed, Pease is an all-transfer school — meaning students there have all transferred in from the neighborhood schools they're zoned for. In its transition plan, the district said students could go to Zavala, on the other side of I-35, but many parents chose to seek transfers to other schools instead.
AISD staff had said they were open to talking with Pease parents about finding one school that could absorb all the students so the community could stay together.
Travis Weller, an East Austin resident, said he applied to transfer his first-grade daughter to Lee, where several of her friends were slated to go. The transfer was officially approved earlier this year.
On Friday, however, he and other families got a call saying their transfer requests were "null and void."
Revoked. The AISD just revoked the transfers THEY ARRANGED AND OFFERED. Cowen, Mathews and Lee. Disgusting. This is a punishment for not agreeing with their plan. @GinaForAustin @aarickawash @DGarzaforD2 @shawley03 @gardnerselby @CommishShea @statesman @kut @JulieChang1
— Mama Bear (@MamaBea79358492) February 21, 2020
I just got the call. I'm in shock. What an absolute shambles of a school district. All I wanted to do was send my kid to a public school and I'm being punished for it repeatedly by the district itself. @AustinISD
— Bryan Carroll (@papertrail) February 21, 2020
"We must start the process of choosing a school for our daughter all over again," Weller said.
AISD said the transfers were revoked because too many families picked schools that were too full to accept transfers.
"In the interest of all kids in AISD, we need to consider space and capacity at all of our schools," the district said in a statement. "We apologize for this unfortunate situation and commit to working with these families to navigate the transfer process within the guidelines set by the board."
Weller said he had a backup plan to get his daughter into a private microschool because he didn't trust the district.
"The behavior of the district throughout the school closure process has been nothing short of evil," he said.
Many Pease parents were shocked to discover the school was on AISD's list of closures last fall. The school in downtown Austin was built in the 1800s and is registered as a historic landmark.
Weller said he feels like he and other families have been "run through the wringer."
"Once again, here we are not knowing," he added.
AISD said it would be working with parents whose transfers were revoked.