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New website aims to inform Austin parents on school options and ease application process

Apply Austin is a one-stop-shop where parents can compare 10 schools located all across the City of Austin that teach children from Pre-K to 12th grade and apply.

AUSTIN, Texas — Some parents might think they have just one option when it comes to sending their child to school, but the truth is they have a choice, and a new Austin-focused website aims to help inform parents.

The website is called Apply Austin, and it just launched this month. Mina Kumar with Families Empowered, the organization that launched it, said it can be complicated for parents to figure out where to send their child to school and they want parents to know they have options.

“They don’t know what schools are available to them, they don’t know what the deadlines are and they don’t know how the process works …” Kumar said. “You can apply for a transfer within your district, you can apply for a transfer within another district, there are charter schools that have applications, there are magnet schools that have applications, there are home school classes, so some of it is just knowing what it is that’s out there.”

The goal of the website is to also simplify the application process. Apply Austin is a one-stop-shop, where parents can compare 10 schools located all across the City of Austin that teach children from Pre-K to 12th grade. Parents can then apply to one of those 10 schools through the website.

There are 10 Austin-area schools participating in the website: 

According to Families Empowered, 82% of parents they serve couldn't name a second school option for their child. Kumar, a spokesperson with the group, said they wanted to change that and show the difference between them, such as “which schools offer certain types of programs, which schools might have after school support, which schools offer different types of sports.”

To simplify the application process, there's a single deadline of Feb. 10. On top of that, the organization gives free live support in Spanish and English if parents have questions.

Kumar said they hear from a lot of first-time parents, some who say their child's been bullied and they need to switch schools, or at their current school their child wasn't reading on grade level and they wanted a smaller class size. Whatever the reason parents might be looking, just this past weekend she said the Apply Austin website had about 4,000 visitors.

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