Austin ISD committee hears parents' concerns, discusses understaffing

One group focused on safety during the Long-range Planning Committee's Nov. 30 meeting. (Maggie Quinlan/Community Impact Newspaper)
One group focused on safety during the Long-range Planning Committee's Nov. 30 meeting. (Maggie Quinlan/Community Impact Newspaper)

One group focused on safety during the Long-range Planning Committee's Nov. 30 meeting. (Maggie Quinlan/Community Impact Newspaper)

Austin Independent School District’s Long-range Planning Committee discussed staffing shortages and heard feedback from parents about students' unmet needs on Nov. 30.

Committee member Lindsey Baker said teachers are acting as security and hall monitors due to understaffing. Baker pointed out that at Gorzycki Middle School, Principal Cathryn Mitchell has been directing buses during pickup time because of a lack of security staff.

Committee member Daniel Dawer, a teacher at Webb Middle School, said he has started monitoring bathrooms because of understaffing. He said the district not only needs more staff, but staff who stay long enough to be proficient in their roles.

“We shouldn’t have like this constant churn because that creates instability and unsafe conditions,” Dawer said.

The group broke into smaller committees to review feedback from parents about needs in categories including food, transportation, safety and early childhood education.



In the safety subcommittee, members considered concerns parents raised about not feeling safe dropping off children, not having enough information on the role of AISD police, and the desire for more feedback from students in underserved groups.

On the topic of food, some parents said their children are going hungry because they find food served at school unappealing. Several said portions are not large enough, so students become hungry during the day.

The committee group that looked at early childhood education concerns addressed AISD families’ need for access to pre-Kindergarten programs that are age appropriate, safe, inclusive and run for the full day.

The group will meet again on Dec. 14.

By Maggie Quinlan

Reporter, Southwest Austin/Dripping Springs

Maggie joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in July 2021 after a year spent covering crime, courts and politics at The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, near the border with Idaho. In Southwest Austin and Dripping Springs, Maggie covers education, business, healthcare, transportation, real estate development and nonprofits. Prior to CI, she graduated from Washington State University, where she was managing editor of the student newspaper and a section editor at her hometown newspaper based in Moscow, Idaho. Maggie dreamed of living in the Austin area for years and feels honored to serve the communities of Southwest Austin and Dripping Springs.