AUSTIN, Texas — Austin ISD has revoked some school transfers that were previously approved for families at Pease Elementary School, saying the transfers were into frozen schools and "not within the purview of administrators to grant."
"I was just very sad and angry and just in utter disbelief," said mom of two Kristine Garana. "I had told many people that, 'Don't worry, AISD's going to honor their commitments. They were trying to make the best of the situation. Stick with Pease.' Some people chose to move on to their new school at break. Many parents chose to stay and try to stick it out. I do feel very sad and a little guilty that I suggested parents to stay, and I'm very worried how my children react when they find out."
A source told KVUE on Friday AISD staff walked families through the transfer process and the transfers were approved, but now, just days after AISD Superintendent Paul Cruz resigned, those transfers are being canceled.
Certain AISD schools have been frozen for transfers for the school year due to being at or over capacity.
Pease Elementary School is expected to close down at the end of the school year.
"These kids love each other," said Rose Guajardo, who has had kids at Pease the past eight years. "The parents love each other. The teachers, the principal, you don't find that everywhere. This is a special place, and it's sad that our children have become pawns in all of this. AISD needs to realize they're people, they're children. We are families. We deserve a voice in this. We deserve a choice in what happens to our children."
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AISD issued a statement to KVUE that said the transfer requests conflicted with existing policies. Here is the full statement:
"Understanding this is a time of transition and change for Pease, we wanted to work with affected parents regarding recent developments. Due to the request of transfers into frozen schools and conflicts with existing policies, Austin ISD cannot guarantee students automatic enrollment in frozen schools. After performing a review of the Austin ISD transfer policy, it was determined that many of those transfers into frozen schools were not within the purview of administrators to grant. In the interest of all kids in AISD, we need to consider space and capacity at all of our schools. 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."
"I don't think AISD or the trustees are really looking at the kids," said Garana. "I think the trustees are going to hide behind board policy. I think AISD is going to hide behind the rushed process and our kids are just going to be caught in the middle, and I'm not sure where we're going to go from here."
Both said they hope AISD can find a solution that best suits the students.
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