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Education Austin wants Austin ISD board to delay school closures vote

The group said the district needs to do a better job of listening to the community.

AUSTIN, Texas — Education Austin doesn't want the Austin Independent School District to move forward with plans to close a dozen schools.

The teacher and employee union held a rally and press conference at AISD headquarters Monday night and asked school board trustees to postpone the Nov. 18 vote for a year.

Education Austin has been silent about AISD's school closure proposal until now. Ken Zarifis is the president of Education Austin, and he said inequity is just one of the reasons trustees should not vote on the school closure plan just yet.

Last month, the district released its "School Changes" report, recommending these campuses should close:

  • Brooke Elementary
  • Dawson Elementary
  • Joslin Elementary
  • Sims Elementary
  • Maplewood Elementary
  • Metz Elementary
  • Palm Elementary
  • Pease Elementary
  • Pecan Springs Elementary 
  • Ridgetop Elementary
  • Webb Middle School 
  • Sadler Means Young Women’s Leadership Academy

"We're asking the district to stop the movement of the report until you've listened to more of the community and stakeholders involved. We know this report is not equitable. It's been cited from the equity officer of having challenges in it," Zarifis said.

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Austin ISD holds community engagement meeting on proposed school changes

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He said another reason to cancel the vote is that the district hasn't done a good job of listening to the community.

He also pointed to an agreement between the union and the school district, signed by Superintendent Dr. Paul Cruz. In it, Education Austin agreed to work with AISD on the school closure plan – if they got to see the plan ahead of time.

Zarifis said that never happened.

"When asked for the report before it came out, we were promised to receive it, even upon three requests," he said.

AISD released the following statement regarding the issue: 

"The Austin ISD community, including Education Austin, has provided invaluable feedback from the community engagement phase which included more than 20 meetings following the initial release of the School Changes Scenarios. Administration has reviewed the feedback through an equity lens and has begun modifying scenarios appropriately. We look forward to continuing the conversation with our communities and the Board of Trustees around School Changes as the next version of scenarios are released."

WATCH: Austin ISD families fight to save East Austin schools

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