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Austin ISD confirms one campus is overcrowded, not all students are in classrooms

International High School and Eastside Early College High School share a location and some are concerned the campus is overcrowded.

AUSTIN, Texas — One Austin ISD campus is running out of space.

International High School and Eastside Early College High School share a location east of Downtown Austin. AISD Chief of Communications and Community Engagement Jason Stanford confirmed that both schools are holding classes in areas of the campus that were not intended to be classrooms, such as conference rooms.

Amber Nunez's mother is a teacher at International High School. Speaking on her mother's behalf, she said she sometimes teaches classes in the hallway.

"Some teachers use whiteboards to separate themselves from others and any outside distractions," said Nunez.

Nunez said the campus had multiple fire drills in the last week. She's worried that in the case of an emergency, students, teachers, faculty and staff will not be able to escape the building in time. 

She said her mother feels Austin ISD dropped the ball on the new campus.

"The community is being misled," Nunez read from a text from her mother. "They believe the school to be an awesome new addition to AISD."

The issue is just one of many plastered on signs held by teachers and parents outside Austin ISD headquarters Thursday afternoon. Nunez said her concerns have been sent to the district's fire marshal, but she and others have yet to receive a direct response.

Austin ISD said International High School and Eastside High School have hundreds more students this school year. 

In a statement to KVUE, the district said:

"International High School and Eastside Early College High School are co-located at the school. Our refugee population more than doubled this year from less than 200 to almost 400. We have never had this many students at International. We are working to find a way to continue to welcome our international students and meet the demand of our growing refugee enrollment."

Stanford said there are 395 students at International High School and 605 students at Eastside Early College High School, for a total of 1,000 students in the single, shared campus. He said the school was only intended for 800 students, teachers, and other faculty and staff. However, the fire code states they may have up to 5,389 people in the building.

Still, Nunez said something needs to be done in order to give the students, educators and staff a fighting chance.

"We love Austin ISD. We are big proponents of public school and believe deeply in it, my family does," said Nunez. "It's very hard to step up and even say something, but something has to be done."

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